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 Russian Synod of 1913. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Russian Synod of 1913. Show all posts

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 10

From: Met. Ephraim []

Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 11:49 AM

Subject: article--ILL-CONSIDERED DECISIONS Sept 2012


By Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston

In the Church’s history, there have been occasions when local synods of bishops have made honest mistakes. One sees this again and again in the Lives of the Saints and in the chronicles of the Church councils.

For example, in the Minutes of the Councils (Mansi 9, 568E), it is recorded that "many times things are said during the Councils, either in defense [of the Church’s teaching], or in opposition, or in ignorance .

By way of example, the Synod of Jerusalem in A. D. 415 acquitted the heresiarch Pelagius, who had been condemned in A. D. 411 by the Council of Chalcedon. Furthermore, the Council of Orange in A. D. 529 declared the teaching of St. John Cassian (whom St. Benedict of Nursia and all the Fathers of the East esteemed highly) heretical!

A professor of theology, V. I. Exemlyarskii, wrote, "If a theological opinion, or even a local council, is at variance with the word of the Lord [or the writings of universally acknowledged Church Fathers, or the resolutions of acknowledged Church Councils], then such an erroneous ecclesiastical teaching should be subject to condemnation."

And if we have read the Life of St. John Chrysostom, how can we forget that he had been condemned and anathematized by a Church Council, and that he was ultimately banished to the outer limits of the Roman Empire?!

Also, in the time of St. Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome (540-604), an African council, in an ill-considered decision, offered the title "Universal Bishop" to the bishops of Rome, thinking, as they sup-posed, that they would thereby honor the holy Apostle Peter. And what was the response of Pope St. Gregory the Great? He refused this unfitting title! The Saint explained that he refused this title "lest, by confer-ring a special status upon one [bishop] alone, all [the others] might be deprived of the honor which is their due."

So much for Rome’s present day claims of universal jurisdiction!

Do you know that a Church Council promoted the use of indulgences — a Roman Catholic practice tied to the heretical teaching concerning Purgatory??

Well, in the year 1727, the Council of Constantinople, endorsed by Ecumenical Patriarch Paisius II, Patriarch Sylvester of Antioch, Patriarch Chrysanthos of Jerusalem and by other participating bishops — without, at least, openly ratifying the teaching about Purgatory — passed the following resolution:

The authority to remit sins, which if they are given out in writing, the Eastern Church of Christ calls "certificates of absolution" (synchorochártia) and the Latins call Indulgences, are given by Christ in the Holy Church. These certificates are given out [i.e. sold]** in the whole Catholic Church by the four patriarchs: of Constantinople, of Alexandria, of Antioch, and of Jerusalem.

(13th Article of the Council)

In fact, just to make things perfectly clear, the very same Synodal resolution (Article 13) adds with emphasis:

To say that only the Pope of Rome has the right to give out indulgences is a blatant lie!

Certainly, indulgences are as good a Latinism as you’ll find anywhere — including the "Trinity" icon!

From an "official" point of view, the resolutions of this Council have never been rescinded.

That is why the words of the Russian professor Exemlyarskii (see above) come to mind. For our own instruction, it is good to be aware of these "honest mistakes" committed in ignorance by Church councils. This is yet one more piece of information that we learn from the Lives of the Saints.

This brings to mind another type of "synod": the Russian "Synod" after the time of Czar Peter the Great up until the time of the restoration of the Patriarchate in Russia in the early part of the 20th century. The "synod" established by Peter the Great was not a council or synod as we understand it, that is, in the sense of an ecumenical synod or a local council, as, for example, the Local Council of Carthage. Instead, in Russia, the "Holy Synod" was an administrative body of eleven bishops hand-picked by the Czar and over-seen by an "oberprocurator" who was a lay-person (a government official) who, in some instances, was not even an Orthodox Christian, but, sometimes, a Lutheran! Hence, on one occasion, the "Russian Synod" even passed a resolution that it was permitted for Orthodox Christians to receive "holy communion" from the Lutherans! Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky protested this violation.

Thus, in reality, the Russian Synod at that time was something more akin to a government Department of Religious Affairs, and not a canonical Council of Bishops. A proper Council of Bishops had not been convened in Russia for over 200 years.

Many decades ago, we often met with Roman Catholic clergy at an ecumenical seminar. Whenever they would begin to argue in favor of papal infallibility, we would respond: "Every Orthodox bishop is infallible — until he makes a mistake!"

And that’s still the way it is.

What is truly marvelous is that the Church has always had the divine illumination of the Saints to guide her in overcoming these human errors.

"We follow in the footsteps of the Holy Fathers."

(4th Ecumenical Council)

* See my previous article, "Our Fathers in Heaven.

** Metropolitan Ephraim’s Note: This aspect of the "giving out" of Indulgences is not mentioned in the Synodal resolution.

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.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Holy Transfiguration Monastery on Name-Worshipping

Issued recently by the monastery fathers in response to the promotion of the name-worshipping heresy by Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston and Bishop Gregory of Concord of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America.

Historical Events and Analysis of the Name Worshipping Controversy

August 5/July 23, 2012 Synaxis of the icon of the Mother of God of Pochaev
“God is without name.” St. Anastasius of Sinai CCSG 8:26

“In all the earth His name is not known, but it is worshipped.”
St. Gregory of Nyssa PG 44, 1028D
For some time we have observed covert and overt efforts to propagate the doctrine of the Name-worshippers. The proponents of these teachings ignore or distort many historical events, offer truncated or misapplied or unknown quotations from Church Fathers, present improvable or unfounded facts; and they vilify anyone who disagrees with them. We have set forth here, in a compilation by many hands, a short chronology of the principal events in the development of the controversy, authentic quotations from our Holy Fathers which make evident the false foundation of the Name-worshippers, and their disregard for the God-established theology of the Church.

A sure mark and sign of their deviance is their frequent statement, when a Saint or Council is cited as being contrary to their doctrine, “Even Saints and Councils can make mistakes; they are not infallible.” Actually, it has been observed, that for the Name-worshippers, almost every Saint – even those who are declared by the Church to be Fathers of Fathers, and Canons of the Faith – has been subject to dogmatic mistakes; since their teachings undercut and deny the premises of the Name-worshippers; only two men have been found by them to be without dogmatic error regarding this issue: Anthony Bulatovich and his modern, fervent advocate and apologist, Gregory Lourie.

Another fallacy that has been widely heard: “Name-worshipping is a Russian affair and must be settled by the Russians; we should avoid any discussion about the subject”. This is another ruse by the Name-worshippers to have history and doctrine ignored while they prepare the ground with pleas for compassion and objectivity.

The fact is that the Name-worshipper sect began and took root on Mt. Athos, and was developed by Monk Hilarion (author of the seminal work On the Mountains of the Caucuses) and by Hieromonk Anthony Bulatovich. Many booklets were printed in Greek, written by Bulatovich and others, disseminating their new doctrines, while others published rebuttals. Their beliefs were first condemned by the Sacred Community of Mt. Athos and later by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, well before their final condemnation by the Russian Synod.

Another gross distortion of fact frequently stated, “We must vindicate the poor, martyred monks of Mt. Athos, who suffered so unjustly for their beliefs at the hands of the ruthless authorities.” An ignored fact is that in 1911, the Name-worshippers became aggressive and violent; they seized monasteries, expelling or imprisoning the brothers and robbing their goods by force, overturned established order and disobeyed the legal authorities. Such criminal acts would not be tolerated in any society.

Finally, we will show with quotations from the Great Fathers and others that the Church’s sacred theology have remained the same from the beginning and contradicts every doctrine of the Name-worshippers. The Church has reaffirmed the Church’s doctrine that the name Jesus (or any divine name) is not an energy of God and that the name is not that which is named.

Indeed, the entire Church has condemned the Name-worshippers, either by words of agreement, or by acquiescing to the formal decrees of the condemnation by the Patriarchates.

When the Church condemns something, it is binding.

Anthony Bulatovich was excommunicated from the Church twice. Actually, it was a self-excommunication. He declared that all the Church was in heresy because it did not accept his doctrine. After the second time, he died on Dec. 5th, 1919, excommunicated and anathematized, when he was killed by robbers at his mother’s estate.

Patriarchal and Synodical decisions have definitively condemned the teachings of the Name-worshippers as heresy, and they have never been reversed; these decisions are binding for us all, remaining in force to the present day. All the local Orthodox Churches and Orthodox Christians everywhere have accepted them.

Bishop Gregory Lourie maintains that the Kollyvades of Mt. Athos had also been unjustly condemned by the Constantinople Patriarchate (the decisions of Patriarchs and Synods are not necessarily always true and infallible) but this condemnation was not long after recalled by the same Patriarchate. In any case, the Kollyvades did not disturb the monasteries of Mt. Athos with violent disorders as did Bulatovich; nor was there any new teaching, but only a desire to respect and observe the ancient typicon and usage of the Church. They did not cut themselves off from the Orthodox Church and declare all those who disagreed with them to be heretics. Indeed, St. Athanasius of Paros, one of the leaders of the Kollyvades, accepted his deposition and did not serve until he was restored by the Patriarchate. The Name-worshippers in no wise followed the example of the Kollyvades, which rather serves to condemn their actions.

A chronology of the principal events in the Name-worshipper controversy

1912 – Joachim III, Patriarch of Constantinople[1] describes the Name-worshipper teaching as “foolish theology”, “completely deceived thinking”, “soul-destroying deception”,“innovation and novel teaching”, “foolish and blasphemous doctrine”. Anthony Bulatovich was called to Constantinople to a canonical Church Court, but ignored the summons. [2]

1913 – After the disturbances on Mt. Athos, the Sacred Community (Iera Koinotis) informed the Patriarch of the sorrowful events and petitioned that the guilty be expelled from the Holy Mountain Athos. Patriarch Germanus, the successor of Joachim, in a letter of April 5th mentions the letters of the Mt. Athos fathers as well as of the “newly appeared and vain doctrine”, of this “blasphemous cacodoxy” and “heresy”, especially among the Russian monks, which leads to “pantheism”. The Metropolitans and other Bishops of the throne in turn also judged the subject worthy of great care and study. The Bishops requested the opinion and verdict of the theological faculty of Halki and, after receiving it, they condemned this “newly appeared doctrine” as “blasphemous and heretical”.

With this letter of his, the Patriarch announces “the synodical conviction and condemnation of this deception” and that it be made known in the Monastery of St. Panteleimon and the Skete of St Andrew and that “the deceived monks” “must reject the blasphemous error”, otherwise they will be deemed “heretics and seditionists against ecclesiastical discipline; and if they remain impenitent, they will not have the right to remain on Mt. Athos to infect this sacred place.” [In other words, if they do not repent and reject this teaching, they will be expelled.]

1913 - Church Truth, the official journal of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in the issue of May 11th, p. 145 states that “Name-worshipping” is a “deception” and “heresy” and urges its followers “to return to Orthodox doctrine, before the Church be obliged to apply the measures enjoined by the sacred canons."

1913 - Church Truth, June 15th, p. 187, publishes the official documents in which the newly-appeared doctrine of the worship of the name of Jesus “is condemned by us, the Great Church of Christ as without foundation and heretical”. It published also the official condemnation of the Name-worshippers by the Church of Russia

1913 – The Church Beacon, official journal of the Church of Alexandria #11, (1913) p. 363 describes the Name-worshippers as a movement of ignorant monks, lacking any theological learning – inclusive of Bulatovich – who were swept along by him and even stooped to violence  [3].

1913 – The condemnation of the Name-worshippers by the Russian Synod is published [4]. To name but a few of those that signed this condemnation are Hieromartyrs Metropolitans Vladimir of Kiev [5] and Agathangelus, the founders and the pillars of the Russian Church Abroad Metropolitan Anthony and Metropolitan Anastassy, who was also called “the Most-wise”.

1913 - It is said that Patriarch Gregory of Antioch also condemned the Nameworshippers, although we have not found any official text. No great reference to official decision is necessary. The official decisions of Constantinople, Mt Athos, and Russia are more than sufficient because of the very important fact that no Patriarchate, no regional church, have ever doubted or rejected these decisions and they have been accepted thus for a hundred years. It is an accepted Pan-Orthodox decision.

1914 – Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow condemned “the false doctrine of the name of God which is preached by schemamonk Hilarion and Anthony Bulatovich".

1914 – The Sacred Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, announces its decision #4136 of 10/24 May, that Bulatovich and those with him had not really repented and so the Synod invalidates decision #1442 of the Moscow Synodical office, which had been deceived by the apparent orthodoxy of the Name-worshippers.

1916 – For a second time, after two years, the sacred Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church confirms by decision #2670 of March 10th, 1916 the decision of condemnation issued two years prior (#4136, May 10/24, 1914).

1917 – 1918 – The Pan-Russian Council had on its agenda to re-open the examination of the question of the Name-worshippers. The council began sessions August 15, 1917, and adjourned on Sept. 20, 1918 because of the political turmoil caused by the Bolsheviks. In any case, a new examination was hardly needed, since three Synods had already condemned them in 1913, 1914, and 1916. That the Pan-Russian Council would not have changed the decision and justified them is proven by the little priority they gave it and the following action of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow:

1918 – The Pan-Russian council ceased its sessions in September of 1918 because of the Bolshevik revolution. On October 8/21, 1918 St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow (+1925) wrote on the part of the synodical members:
The sacred Synod does not change its former decision concerning the error of the Name-worshippers…and in no way has it changed the general condition according to which the Name-worshippers, in as much as they have been condemned by the Church authorities, are not accepted into communion with the Church…only when they have rejected Name-worshipping and show obedience to the church. The request of the Hieromonk Anthony [Bulatovich] that he be permitted to serve as a priest is deemed not worthy of fulfillment in as much as he continues in disobeying the church and spreads his ideas which have been condemned by the Church Hierarchy as being harmful for the Church.
After this decision, in November 1918, Fr. Anthony Bulatovich wrote to Patriarch Tikhon and the Holy Synod informing them of his secession from any spiritual communion with the ecclesiastical authorities until “an examination of the case in its essence by the Holy Council”041. Not long thereafter, he suffered a violent death as mentioned above, being 49 years old, in 1919  [6].

1921 – Patriarch Tikhon mentions the subject of the Name-worshippers in his Christmas Encyclical of 1921.

...During these lofty days, when the Church celebrates the Nativity of the Godman, Who brought upon the earth peace and goodwill of our Heavenly Father, I deem it proper to remind you, in brief, concerning the Athonite Name glorifiers and to offer you some guidance on how to treat these monastics. From their case it can be seen that in its Resolution 3479, of April 22-25, 1914, the Holy Synod condescended to the spiritual mood and the disposition of mind of those Athonite monks who were not well versed in theology as expressed in books, nor very knowledgeable concerning formal proceedings, [and it, the Synod of 1914] allowed the previously required signed repudiation by the Name-worshippers of their false teaching to be replaced with a written testimony [i.e. from witness] (by sworn promise), while kissing the Holy Cross and the Gospel, of their Orthodox Faith, their exact following of the Orthodox Church, and of their obedience to the God-established hierarchy, believing according to the teaching of the Holy Church, adding nothing and subtracting nothing on their own, in particular as pertains to the veneration of the Name of God, not to believe that His Name is God’s essence, not to separate it [the Name] from God, or consider it another deity, and not to deify letters, sounds and random/accidental thoughts about God, and such who believe in this manner and who manifest their submission to the ecclesiastical authorities, the Holy Synod [of 1914] decided to receive into the Church, while those of priestly rank it permitted to perform services. However, while manifesting its condescension, the Synod did not alter its previous judgment regarding the very error contained in the writings of Anthony Bulatovich and his followers, which it decided to refer to the consideration of the Holy Pan-Russian Local Council, from which depends the resolution of this case in its essence…
The Name-worshippers had used a version of the above excerpt of the 1921 Nativity encyclical which is mistranslated and subsequently they misinterpret. Their translation uses the English simple past for the first half of the excerpt: “…the Holy Synod…permitted…decided”, etc., but the present perfect for the second half of the translation: “…the Synod has decided…has permitted”. The implications here is that one body made the first decisions, and that a later body made the other ones. Such is not the case. Bishop Gregory Lourie does use this 1921 epistle of Patriarch Tikhon to argue for the existence of just a separate resolution, which, according to him, “has not come down to us”. He further claims that this hypothetical ‘resolution’ removed all the remaining bans on those Name-worshippers still living. According to Bishop Gregory, the text of Patriarch Tikhon’s epistle was based on this ‘resolution’. He offers no proof for these assertions.

One apologist for the Name-worshippers likewise interprets this excerpt of the 1921 encyclical in the same manner as we have above. Metropolitan Hilarian (Alfeyev), the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of External Affairs, is a well-known expert on the Name-worshipping movement and has written a two-volume study on it. Nor can Metropolitan Hilarion be suspected of partiality toward Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, of whom he declares in his book that he was driven into exile after the Revolution and died as a schismatic, outside of the Church. In citing this 1921 encyclical of Patriarch Tikhon, Metropolitan Hilarion writes:
At the beginning of 1921, the Patriarch sent a nativity Epistle to the diocesan bishops, part of which was devoted to the treatment of the Athonite Name-glorifiers. The Patriarch, in particular, mentioned the resolution of the Synod, No. 3479, of April 22-25, 1914, according to which the Name-glorifiers were allowed to participate in the Mysteries and priestly services on the condition of a written or oral testimony “of their exact following of the orthodox Church and obedience to the God-established hierarchy”; however, as the Patriarch emphasized, the Synod, in its Resolution of 1914, “did not change its previous judgment regarding the error itself, which is found in the writings of Anthony Bulatovich and his followers, which it decided to refer to the consideration of the Holy All-Russian Council, on which depends the resolution of this entire matter in its essence.... [7]
The Pan-Russian Council did not need to re-discuss the subject. All the Synods which had previously convened had condemned the Name-worshippers, and had not altered their opinion and decision. Shortly thereafter, robbers murdered Bulatovich. Despising Synodical decisions does not lead to a good end, “the death of sinners is evil” (Ps 33:22).

Another similar occurrence: Archimandrite Arsenius, general delegate of the Holy Synod of Russia, was sent by the Moscow Patriarchate to Mt. Athos to judge the situation in 1913. Having arrived, the next day he attached himself to the party of the Name-worshippers. At the critical moment of the dialogue between the opposing parties, Arsenius suffered paralysis and could not speak. After a month and a half, he suffered another attack and became a complete invalid and never recovered [8] He had been abbot of the Monastery of St. Macarius. His successor, the sacred martyr Macarius, became bishop of the Catacomb Church. He and the entire monastery remained Orthodox [9].

The events of 1911 – 1918 on Mt. Athos and Russia became known throughout the whole Orthodox world, through articles and journalistic reports; and comments appeared in all the centers of the Orthodox world. The Church Herald, official organ of the Church of Cyprus (#3 [1913] 708 – 720), the Church Beacon, of the Church of Alexandria (#11, 1913 pg 362) and Church Truth of Constantinople (#33, 1913, pg 123) describe the new heretical teachings, and the Name-worshippers' vicious language and violent assaults in their invasion of St. Panteleimon Monastery, where they imprisoned the abbot Misael and elected a new abbot David, and of the Skete of St. Andrew, where they expelled the abbot Hieronymous with many monks and seized the Skete. The news accounts have many more details from which the account above is summarized. Most of the Local Orthodox Churches had no problem in their regions with Name-worshippers, so no official action was required, or indeed, canonically proper for them to enact. But the official journals indicate their agreement with the condemnation of the Name-worshippers and their disorderly and illegal behavior; nor was there any objection or demurral voiced.

We either agree with the councils or Synods or we do not. We can summon a council and declare the former a “robber” council and condemn their decisions, or we can ignore their decisions because they are not enacted with ecumenical authority, or not of our province, i.e. not part of our local Church. We should remember, however, the Council of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the eleventh century under Patriarch Michael Cerularius, which put the Latins under anathema. Patriarch Peter of Antioch expressed himself guardedly against the anathema unless the dogmatic accusations were verifiably true.

Yet this decision of a local council has ecumenical force and authority for the Orthodox Church, because its dogmatic formulations were undoubtedly true to Orthodoxy, so the churches all accepted it as self-evident truth and did not convene separate councils.

Sacred martyr Basil (Zelentsov) (+1930) was catacomb Bishop of Proluki, a professor of theology and a witnessing Christian, a lay delegate to the Pan-Russian Council. His sermon at his ordination was more a pledge of fidelity to the Church of Christ to struggle until “his last breath” against the “apostates [he means the Sergianists], the blasphemers, innovators and heretics”. He recognized the condemnation of the Name-worshippers by the Synod and declared “they will be accepted into Church communion and participation in the mysteries of the Church only under the inviolable condition that they reject the false doctrine of Name-worshipping and verify their faith in the dogmas and doctrine of the church, as well as their obedience to the Church authorities."

Callinicus the Hesychast (+Aug. 7, 1930) was one of the foremost teachers and examples of hesychasm and spiritual guide and confessor upon Mt. Athos in his lifetime [10].
The name of God does not have a magical character so that whoever invokes it gains its powers. A medium, a Satanist, an actor can take in his mouth or use in a book of magic the name God, Jesus, or Christ, without grace obeying him and working, just as an icon or cross in the hands of a heretic or in magic has no power, but is a simple object, inert matter without power, even if it bears thename of God upon it. Christ names Himself: door, vine, rock, spirit, light, life, Lord, shepherd, Lamb, father, mother, teacher, bread, etc. Certainly, that does not mean whenever I see the words bread, door, rock, etc. without fail, God is there. Neither when one says the word “spirit” is only God signified, for a demon is called spirit, as also are the wind and the air and man’s soul. ‘Take caretherefore, when hearing such words lest you be lead astray by the sameness of the sound and understand something else than that which is intended’ (St. Cyril of Jerusalem 16:13). Faith is the presupposition; grace does not pour forthwithout distinction and discretion. Rightly did the Russian Synod condemn theName-worshippers, who believed ‘that the unconscious repetition of the name of God is effectual!’ The same Synod speaks of a ‘mechanical repetition’ and ‘magical superstition’ of the Name-worshippers. ‘An inexperienced monk will forget that prayer is directed to someone’ and ‘only a dead repetition will suffice’ and ‘not gaining the fruits which only true prayers can provide, either he will fall into despair (he will lose heart) or will produce them artificially in himself and he will perceive that exultation as the action of grace, that is, he will fall into deception.’ [see decision of the Russian Synod]
The name of God is holy “certainly not because the syllables contain some sanctifying power” writes St Basil the Great, On Psalm 32  (Ellines Pateres Ekklesias, vol 5, p. 197).
“There exists no name which embraces the whole nature of God, and is sufficient to declare it; more names than one, and these of very various kinds, each in accordance with its own proper connotation, give a collective idea which may be dim indeed and poor when compared with the whole, but is enough for us.” St. Basil the Great, Against Eunomius, I, 10.

“There was a time when God had no name, and there will be a time when he will have no name.” St Isaac the Syrian, Unpublished Chapters on Knowledge, III, 1, syr. e7, Bodleian.
“The movements of the tongue and the heart in prayer are keys; what comes after them, however, is the entrance into the treasury. Here let every mouth, every tongue become silent, and let the heart (the treasurer of the thoughts), and the mind (the ruler of the senses), and the reason (that swift-winged and most shameless bird), and their every device become still.” The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 2011, Homily 23, p. 239.
“So far, nobody has found any name completely worthy of God; nor is this very ‘Word’ used strictly and essentially of Him; it only shows that the Son was born from the Father without passion.” Blessed Theophylactus, Archbishop of Bulgaria, Commentary on John, 1:2.

Saint Basil the Great in the Hexaemeron describes the dispensation of words as used in Scripture, that the words are human, not directly God’s words:
“It must be well understood that when we speak of the voice, of the word, of the command of God, this divine language does not mean to us a sound which escapes from the organs of speech, a collision of air struck by the tongue; it is a simple sign of the will of God, and, if we give it the form of an order, it is only the better to impress the souls whom we instruct. (Hexaemeron 11:7)
“Let not the unbelieving heart think that the sign of the cross as well as the name of Christ work miracles of themselves independently of Christ Himself…They work no miracle until we see Jesus Christ with the eyes of our soul, with faith.” St John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ, p.75.

Starets Barsanuphius of Optina, contemporary of Bulatovich said, “Power is not in the word, it is not in the name, but in Christ Himself who is named,” (Elder Barsanuphius, 2000, p. 810). A spiritual daughter of the Staretz relates, “knowing the Elder’s strict obedience to the Church, I know that he would have taken these books [In the Mountains of the Caucasus] away from us and would have submitted to the Synod’s order. [11] ( Elder Barsanuphius, 2000, p. 811).
Theophanes the recluse said, “Words are only prayers expression and are always weaker than prayer itself” (Art of Prayer, p. 125). Again he says, “The Jesus prayer is not itself miraculous, but like any other short prayer, it is oral and consequently external” (pg 126). This “external” of which the saints teach, the syllables of the words, are the “cap” that the holy Elder Callinicus so wisely spoke of in his excellent and down to earth metaphor, which the Name-worshippers mocked. He said, “They have left off worshipping the head and are worshipping the cap”. In his correspondence, the Elder Callinicus called it “this stupid heresy."
We have seen all the Synods, Churches and Saints, which, following the Fathers, have condemned the Name-worshippers, or rejected their doctrine by their contrary exposition of Orthodox doctrine. No Synod has repealed these condemnations. The supporters of the Name-worshippers in past decades were Berdyaev, S. Bulgakov (condemned for his heresy of Sophiology) and another Sophiologist and occultist, the priest Paul Florensky.

Bishop Gregory Lourie has revived the doctrine of Name-worshipping by writing about it and lauding their founders Hilarion (who admitted that his doctrine is “new” and never found before) and Anthony Bulatovich, whom he has canonized with an icon and a service. He pretends that this is the genuine Athonite teaching, and that he is battling against “Name-fighters” and innovators. Bishop Lourie says, “There are no strange or erroneous teachings in Fr. Bulatovich’s books”. Bulatovich called anyone who disagreed with him, “heretics”, “fools”, “blasphemers”, and “anathematized”. In fact, according to him, the whole Church was in Apostasy, because it did not agree with him. All the saints, martyrs, confessors, struggles, and godly scholars from the 1900’s, and all the Church’s councils were flawed or heretical.

Both Bulatovich and Gregory Lourie angrily attack and defame Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky, who was a major religious and theological figure of the time.  Bulatovich and Lourie, with no substantiation, pronounce him to be a heretic [12]  This is the man whose students were confessors and martyrs, and was greatly respected, even though many of his theological positions were controversial because they had patristic foundations and were different from the customary philosophical and scholastic theology usual in Russia during the prior three centuries. He was the reviver of Patristic theology in Russia. St. Justin Popovich declared, “We are ants before him, who is a soaring eagle.” St. John of San Francisco was a student of his as well as St. Hilarion (Troitsky) the hieromartyr, and many others. His analysis of the Name-worshippers was convincing and unanswerable.

Throughout St. Dionysius the Areopagite’s works, The Mystical Theology and The Divine Names (and indeed, in all his writings), he proclaims that God is without form and inconceivable to human conception, beyond any grasp: physical, spiritual, intellectual; unknowable, uncontainable, infinite, perceivable only by His effects, only when He wills. God acts and can effect, but He cannot be acted upon or affected; God is impassible, changeless, remaining always the same as He ever was and shall be According to St. Dionysis, “God participates in us, but we do not participate in him (Divine Names 2:5 – 6). That is to say, God affects us, but we do not affect Him. So all the Apostles and Fathers have preached.
St. Isaac the Syrian quotes St Dionysius when he discusses the different types of prayer:
“Saint Dionysius, who writes: ‘We use sounds and syllables and phrases and descriptions and words on account of our senses, since when our soul is moved by noetic energies (operations) to things noetic, both the senses and that which they perceive become superfluous; just as, in turn, the noetic powers are superfluous when the soul, having become Godlike by an unknown union, throws herself upon the rays of the unapproachable Light with sightless hurlings.’ [13]
St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nyssa in their books Against Eunomius [14] say that no name can be applied to God, which describes His nature or essence, because names are material, human constructions. Certainly, the doctrine of the Names of God has been clearly set forth by the church, by St. Irenaeus, Ss. Gregory the Theologian, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus and many more. These citations are found in the conciliar decisions against the Name-worshippers and in the exposition of Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky.

Bulatovich, in order to establish his doctrine, frequently brings forward these words of our Savior as a proof text, with his peculiar interpretation. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (Jn 6:63) Bulatovich maintains that the Lord meant that whatever words he had said to the Apostles were the Holy Spirit itself and life itself, i.e., since life is one of the divine names, the name is therefore, Life itself. He concludes that every word that Christ spoke was, therefore, God Himself; when the Apostles and disciples repeated these words, their words were God Himself; whenever they were printed and repeated by others, these words also were God Himself, because they are divine energies of God. When God gave the commandments and law on Sinai; these are God Himself, as they are the energies of God. The entire written Gospel is God Himself, because it is the energies of God. Whatever the Holy Spirit did and revealed is God Himself, as they are “the fruits of the Spirit” of which the Apostle Paul speaks therefore they are God Himself. (pg. 74, Bulatovich, The Glory of God is Jesus, Christomanou Press, Thessalonica, 1913) No wonder the Theologians of Halki judged that his doctrine “reeks of  Pantheism”. However, St Cyril of Jerusalem repeats the common interpretation understanding in the Church of this text of the Gospel:
But since concerning spirit in general many diverse things are written in the divine Scriptures, and there is fear lest some out of ignorance fall into confusion, not knowing to what sort of spirit the writing refers; it will be well now to certify you, of what kind the Scripture declares the Holy Spirit to be. For Aaron is called Christ, and David and Saul and others are called Christs, but there is only one true Christ, so likewise since the name spirit is given to different things, it is right to see what is that which is distinctively called the Holy Spirit. For many things are called spirits. Thus an Angel is called spirit, our souls are called spirits, and the wind which is blowing is called spirit…and a devil our adversary is called spirit…And of good doctrine the Lord Himself says, ‘The words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life’; instead of “are spiritual”. Catechetical Lecture, 16:13) [in other words, the Lord says spirit instead of saying spiritual]
Bulatovich distorts the meaning of the phrase “in the name of Jesus” as meaning the very name itself, “Jesus”, which he believes is God Himself. The phrase is commonly understood even in everyday speech as invoking the authority and power of who or what is named as the justification for the action: “in the name of the government of the United States”, “in the name of the King”, “in the name of President Obama”, “in the name of common humanity”.

Bulatovich also claims that the name “Jesus” existed before eternity in the eternal counsel of God and therefore is the most-excellent, eternal name of God above every name. Yet no Father when speaking about the divine names has ever referred to the Word and Son of God as “Jesus” before His incarnation. He is called, “God, “Son”, “Word”, “Angel of great counsel”, “Wisdom”, etc. St Cyril of Alexandria says, “the names before the incarnation are appropriate to His nature, “God” and “Wisdom”…but since he came down to empty himself by taking on the likeness of a man…he accepts the common name, that is both “Christ” and “Jesus”, which is to say, “God with us”… Therefore, then, I declare that the name of Christ is inappropriate for God the Word before His incarnation; if he has not yet received the Chrism, how can he be called Christ? [If he has not yet been anointed, how can he be called the Anointed one?] (Commentary on Esaias 4.4 2.656 A – E)

St Basil the Great: “The name of God is said to be holy, not because it contains in it any special virtue, but because in whatsoever way we contemplate God, we see Him pure and Holy.” (On Psalm 32)

Whatever we know about God “received its name after the name came into being… [For] names were invented to denote the Supreme Being, not for His sake, but for our own.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, Answer to Eunomius’ second Book)

“Inasmuch as He is the cause of all, He receives names from all His effects” (St. John Damascene, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 1, 12). God’s effects, that are His energies, receive names from men, but the names are not the effect (energies) which God causes. Therefore as the Synods declared: the name is not the energy of God; the name is not that which is named.

“The God-inspired scriptures of necessity use many names and expressions for the particular and moreover, enigmatic portrayal of the glory of God.” (St. Basil the Great, On Faith, 5) The glory of God is a divine energy, the “names and expressions” are mankind’s description of the glory of God, but not that glory itself.

“The divinity is un-nameable. When we represent God by borrowing certain traits from that which surrounds God, [His glory or energies] we compose a certain unclear and weak idea gathered in-parts from this and that. And the best theologian among us is not he who has discovered everything, but he whose idea is broader, and who has formed in himself a fuller likeness or shadow of the truth.” (St. Gregory the Theologian, Fourth Theological Oration, 17)
“That which surrounds God” [ta peri tou theou] –His glory or energy– forms in the believer and theologian a shadow or likeness in his understanding. This can be named, but that name is not that glory itself, but one man’s understanding of it. The term “divinity” refers also to the divine energies, which are formless, without shape or image. They are the formless ideas or words logoi of creatures; they are the formless “wills” of God, which are then named by men, not the energies themselves. Therefore as the Synods declared: the name is not the energy of God; the name is not that which is named.

“We, following the suggestions of Scriptures, have learned that the nature [of God] is un-nameable and unspeakable, and we say that every term, either invented by the custom of men, or handed down to us by the Scriptures, is indeed explanatory of our conceptions of the Divine Nature, but does not include the significance of that Nature itself.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, To Ablabius, PG 45, 121B)

Our conceptions, which can be described and named, explain the divinity, but do not include its significance, therefore the names also do not include, the energy of the divinity. Therefore as the Synods declared: the name is not the energy of God; the name is not that which is named.

“Note that the name ‘God’ does not show the essence or what God is, but a certain good deed in relation to us, and that we create names for God from the gifts of God of which we are participants.” (St. Maximus the Confessor, Scholia on the Divine Names II)

“We create names for God,” but man does not create the divinity, which is ever existent, beginning less and unending. Therefore as the Synods declared: the name is not the energy of God; the name is not that which is named.

“That which surrounds God,” is His glory, might, power, majesty, light, providence, will, energy, which are referred to, or explained or portrayed by the divine names. These name are inventions of men even, if they refer to the very essence of God or recount God’s revelation, as the divinity is beyond every name or image or conception of man; God certainly cannot be held or enclosed by human words or terms or by any constraints – material, intellectual, spiritual, or noetic.

Many students of philosophy attempted to apply categories of necessity, nature, and essence to God and the incarnation; likewise, many sought for solutions in the Platonic ideas, in the Neo-platonic sympathies, but the Church rejected these. Indeed, Synodicon of Orthodoxy condemns these philosophies in three different chapters.

The revelation of the doctrine of the Tri-Hypostatic Trinity has been the formulation, which has rescued the Church from any such errors. One essence revealed in three sovereign hypostases, of one power, throne, glory, and dominion: Infinite, without beginning or end, impassible, omniscient, omnipotent, without form or body, and uncreated. Divinity is attributed to the essence of God, but He is multiple in His will, because all created things have the formless, shapeless will of God as the ground of their being, an unrelated relationship, a formless icon or archetype (according to St. John of Damascus), thus denying any doctrine of Platonic ideas or images. There is an indivisible division of God among individual creatures, which the Saints call also the natural energy of God. The natural energy of God’s essence does not differ from God’s essence and is not separate from it. They are not two separate things for God’s natural energy is simple as is His essence. St Gregory Palamas repeated this Patristic truth against the Barlaamites, when he declared, that it was a God-befitting distinction, which in no way violated the divine simplicity. God is not diminished, but he is everywhere present in all his essence, wherever his energy is differentiated and measured out according to His will; He is present in His grace in the measure he determines for every creature. The Nameworshippers call those who do not believe in their new teaching, Barlaamites. However, it is their “dogma” that resembles the Barlaam heresy; for they, like Barlaam, declare that the grace of God is created, since they declare a created name is God Himself.

A sheet circulated by the Name-worshippers recently, purports to compare in two columns, Teaching of the Russian Synod on the Grace of God in one column, and by its side in another, Teaching of St Gregory Palamas on the Grace of God.  The Name-worshippers accuse the Decision of the Russian Synod of 1913, Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky, and S. Troitsky of misquoting and denying the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas, while, in opposition, they quote some few lines from the writings of St Gregory. To prove that the above mentioned authorities did not misquote St Gregory, as is claimed, and that he also used the term ‘Divinity’ as they did, we shall offer the fifth chapter of those anathemas written by St. Gregory against Barlaam and Acyndinus [15].
Again, to those same men who say that the name Godhead or Divinity [theotes] can be applied only to the essence of God, and who do not confess, in accord with the divinely inspired theologies of the Church that this appellation is applied as well to the divine energy, and that by all means, the Saints thus still profess one Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whether one apply the term Godhead to Their essence or to Their operation, since the divine expounders of the mysteries have so instructed us,
Anathema (3)
Clearly the Saint uses the term Divinity, in the same way as do the Synod and the theologians mentioned, to refer to the divine energy. Referring to the divine essence itself as God, was not unknown to ancient church writers. In any case, the quibbling over the term “divinity” is ridiculous, because any dictionary will define it as Godhead, or God, or the deity, or the quality of being divine, or partaking of the divine nature, etc., and this is how it is used here. St. Basil remarked that we will not argue over the order or form of words so long as they mean the same thing. Here they signify clearly that the energies are God Himself.
St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Basil the Great call the light of Mt. Tabor (the divine energy) ‘divinity’ saying that ‘the light is the divinity manifested to the disciples on the Mount’ and that it is ‘the beauty of Him Who is almighty, and His noetic and contemplatable divinity.’ St John of Damascus as well as St. John Chrysostom call that light a natural ray of the Divinity. The former writes, ‘Because the Son was begotten unoriginately from the Father, He possess the natural, unoriginate ray of the Divinity, and the glory of the Divinity becomes the glory of His Body.’ And St John Chrysostom says, ‘The Lord appeared upon the mountain more radiant than Himself because the Divinity revealed its rays.’” (St. Gregory Palamas, Topics of Natural and Theological Science, no. 146)
There are no arguments with the other texts thus quoted from St. Gregory, although the use of no. 126 from his Topics of Natural and Theological Science is an amusing stumble by the Name-worshippers; for a few words before, the Saint uses the word “God” in a manner similar to the theologians they condemned: “God the Father is called Father in relation to His own Son, and fatherhood pertains to Him as an uncreated property, even though energy differs from essence.” Theological terminology shifts somewhat in usage of terms in order to present a truth which is beyond conception and verbalization; it must be understood within the limitations of language as the meaning and significance is presented in all its facets to reach fuller expression and development, after all terms have had their relationship explicated.

Sufficient are the quotations presented to prove that the use of the word “Divinity” by the Russian Synod and other Orthodox Theologians is not a denial of St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodoxy; rather the Name-worshippers attempt to confuse the issue by using selectively truncated quotations to discredit the Synods and the Orthodox theologians; it is also a smokescreen to hide the real reason for their condemnation.

The decisions of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate, of the Russian Synod, of Mt. Athos, of Halki’s verdict, and Metropolitan Anthony’s analysis and exposition prove that they knew and certainly understood St Gregory, who had gathered his teachings from the scriptures, the Apostolic Fathers, and St. Dionysius the Aeropagite, and all the Saints up to his day, in order to refute the Thomist theology of Barlaam, which teachings were also known to the aforementioned, when they declared that the properties, characteristics, and attributes of God were also divine, according to the ancient doctrine of the Church. They all rejected the blasphemous innovation of Hilarion and Bulatovich, which made God material. Wherefore they condemned them as being the actual Barlaamites (for such is Thomism: God’s energies and grace are created, thus material).

God is uncreated. All else is created. God alone is always and forever, without beginning or end, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, infinite, incomprehensible, ever the same, simple, uncomposite, unconstrained, impassible, inviolate and invulnerable. This is God alone, the Trinity, with all His attributes and properties, which aside from the hypostases, are His essential energy, for He dwells in unapproachable light.

St Gregory Palamas, following St Maximus the Confessor, concerning a symbol or sign of divinity, declares that “every symbol either derives from the nature of the object of which it is a symbol, or belongs to an entirely different nature. Thus when the sun is about to rise, the dawn is a natural symbol of its light, and similarly heat is a natural symbol of the burning power of fire.” In other words, it is a natural symbol because it participates in the same nature as that which it symbolizes, thus the light of Tabor is a natural symbol because it is the light of the Divinity as all the Fathers and services of the Church have declared. “As for the symbol which derives from another nature, having its own existence, it is quite impossible for it constantly to be associated with the object it symbolizes, for nothing prevents it from existing before and after this object, like any reality having its own existence.” (St. Gregory Palamas, Triads III, 1, 14) This, of course refutes the claim of Barlaam that the light of Tabor was created, as St. Gregory proves in the following chapters, 15 – 23; but it also refutes the Name-worshippers, for the name is created, derived from a different nature from the uncreated divinity, and impossible to be continually associated with it.
According to those who hold the true faith – and contrary to Acindynus’ nonsensical and impious ramblings – created things are not the energy of God, but they are the effects of the divine energy. For if the created things are the energy, either such things are uncreated – which is sheer folly, for it would mean that they exist before they are created – or else prior to created things God possesses no energy; and this is mere godlessness. For of course, God is eternally active and all-powerful. Thus creatures are not God’s energy, but things that (whatever the precise terminology employed) have been actualized and effected. But God’s energy, according to the theologians, is uncreated and co-eternal with God.” (St. Gregory Palamas, Topics of Natural and Theological Science, no. 140)
“It is not activating and energy, but being acted upon and passivity that produces composition. God activates without in any way being acted upon or subject to change.” (Ibid, no. 145)

It is ironic that the Name-worshippers rush forward, purportedly as great champions and defenders of St. Gregory Palamas, while railing against the Orthodox Church as not understanding him or as misquoting him. But upon actually reading St Gregory, the Name-worshippers find themselves impaled upon the spiritual sword of his doctrine.

The names of God or the divine names are our perception of the revelation about God, not of the essence, but of that which pertain to God or surrounds God, (ta peri tou theou), i.e., God’s glory or energy. These names are given for our recognition and recall. According to all the Fathers, and accepted by all Orthodox, especially after being defined by Ss Dionysius, Gregory the Theologian, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas, these names are created, creations of man, and thus can never be energies of God.

Since God alone is uncreated and cannot change, and he is one and uncomposite, i.e., simple, His essence and essential energy are simple and undivided. A created name cannot become uncreated God, i.e., an energy of God, still less a part of the divine essence, which has no relation with anything created.

St. Gregory Palamas, states in his Chapters Against Barlaam and Acindynus, no. 3, Synodicon of Orthodoxy:
Since according to the Saints, created energy evinces a created nature, whereas uncreated energy designates an uncreated essence; in consequence, they now face the hazard of falling into complete atheism, since they have affixed the mythology of the Greeks and the worship of creatures to the pure and spotless faith of the Christians; to those men, therefore, who do not confess, in accord with the divinely-inspired theologies of the Saints and the pious mind of the Church, that every natural power and operations [energy] of the tri-hypostatic Godhead is uncreated,
Anathema (3)

Therefore if we follow the Name-worshippers, we will either worship a created God and become idolaters, since, as they declare His name, a creation, is now a divine energy; or we will fall into Pantheism, since all the divine names or energies sustain every creature in existence, give life and love, and provide for them and direct them. These are the conclusions drawn by St Gregory in the foregoing quotation, since the worship of creation is idolatry; or pantheism, which results in atheism, i.e., that is the denial of the living, Triune God and the worship of an eternal universe, like the ancient philosophers.

The Name-worshippers attempt to imbue the names – especially Jesus – with mystic, special power, sympathy or attachment. This is the mark of Gnosticism, Platonism, Neoplatonism, or magic. All the foregoing have been refuted and condemned by the Church; in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy, Platonism and its doctrines have been condemned three times.

If the Iconoclasts had heard the Orthodox say that the icon of Christ is God Himself, they would have been justified in calling us idolaters since the Orthodox worship a piece of wood and call it God Himself. Yet Name-worshippers say that this is God Himself if the monograms are painted thereon. We follow the Seventh Ecumenical council in declaring: worshipping but not deifying; the honor passes over to the prototype.

Indeed, this whole sorry attempt to discredit the Orthodoxy of the decision of the Russian Synod, of the Constantinople Patriarchate, Halki’s verdict and that of Mt. Athos, is a smoke screen and distraction to hide the real reason for their condemnation.

Now the Name-worshippers say that the name “Jesus” (or any divine name or even any word of scripture) is an energy of God, that is God Himself. As we have seen in the writings of the Fathers, names are created, the inventions of men. We would resemble the Gnostics who said that God degenerated and fell becoming material if we should say what the Name-worshippers do. But such can never be attributed to our omnipotent, infinite, ever-existent, unchangeable deity of one essence and essential energy in three hypostases. Quite rightly have the Synods declared that the divine names are not an essential energy of God. Otherwise we would be saying that the uncontainable God can be contained, the Omnipotent constrained and coerced, and the Unchangeable changed.

With their doctrine of the energy of God being a name (while all the Saints have declared names to be material), the result is that the more frequently the name is said, the more grace is gathered, thus quantifying God and God’s energy: A mechanical process similar to Tibetan prayer wheels, which the more they turn, the more merit is gained. The Name-worshippers appear to be applying one of the so-called laws of Magic, that of Identity: the name is identical with that which is named. We can do without such superstition, condemned by the Church as demonic deception.

If the Name-worshippers should say that Jesus Christ was also God and created, the Incarnation is a completely different matter. The Incarnation concerns the Word of God, one hypostasis of the Most Holy Trinity, a hypostasis not an energy, Who became a man, taking upon Himself a pure, perfect human nature for our salvation, uniting it to the divine nature in Himself ‘without confusion or change”, “perfect God and perfect man”. Even here, the divinity did not change or merge with the humanity, nor was humanity dissolved in the divinity, but because of the intercommunion of the attributes in the hypostasis of the Word, we speak of Jesus Christ as both God and man. But such a union cannot apply to the inviolable grace and will of God, for they are the single, united, essential energy of the Trinity. Even in the incarnation, the human nature retained its natural identity and did not become divine in itself, although the distinction we are told by S John Damascene, is only used in abstract thought, not in reality. But the communion of the divine energy or grace with creation – creature, inanimate nature, or a name – is not a hypostatic or essential change: the created nature remains created and its grace and glory is forever contingent, uncreated and not bound to the nature.

We worship the Cross of Christ, we worship the name of Christ, we worship the icon of Christ, as all the saints have declared; “The worship and honor passes over to the prototype,” “we worship them but we do not deify them”, according to the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the theologies of the Saints.

Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Boston, Massachusetts USA


1   "Joachim III (1834-1912). Born in Constantinople, he served as Patriarch 1878-84 and from 1902 to 1912, the year of his repose. Known for his almsgiving and compassion, he strengthened the bond of the Church of Constantinople with other local Orthodox Churches, especially that of Russia. He was geatly esteemed by the last Sultan, Abdul Hamit. During his exile between his two tenures as Patriarch, he resided on the Holy Mountain where he was loved and esteemed by the fathers of the monasteries and sketes. His family name was Demetriades and, according to some, he was one of the greatest Patriarchs after the fall of the City (1453), characterized as ‘of great mind, majesty, and great accomplishments.’” Peter Botsis, The Elder Ieronymos of Aegina, translated by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, pg 77 (the text cited was inserted intothe book by the translator).
2 Archbishop Nikon wrote and rebuked Anthony Bulatovich for not obeying the Constantinople Patriarch’s summons to a spiritual court but instead began violent sedition against his ecclesiastical superior before even hearing any decision of theirs. Constantine Papoulides, “Unpublished Documents Concerning the Russian Name-worshippers of the Holy Mountain” in Makedonika 21 (1981) pp 264-265 (in Greek).
3  See the excellent work published by Dorotheus, monk, The Holy Mountain (To Agion Oros) vol. 1, 1986 (receiving award from the Academy of Athens) on page 175, “[Anthony Bulatovich] belongs to that category of persons who possess some dogmatic knowledge which they vaunt and attempt to apply with exaggeration, violence, and lies".
4 The Russian Synodal Decision, Halki’s Verdict on the Name-worshipping Controversy, Constantinople's Decision, and Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky’s Analysis, are all available in English.

5  Metropolitan Vladimir was the head of the Russian Synod at that time as he was the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg.

6  Anthony Bulatovich entered St. Andrew Skete in July 1907, but was possessed by depression. The Skete Elders, in order to relieve him of the pressure he had from a desire for activity, permitted him a journey to Ethiopia where he remained for almost a year. Upon his return, he became zealous in theological matters. The Abbot Hieronymus admonished him not to spread teachings of Name-worshipping among the monks. He refused to obey and abandoned the Skete. After a few months, he returned with reinforcements. His followers, with uplifted fists shouted, “Blood will be spilt!” They occupied the main church and later used force to expel the Abbot Hieronymous and other faithful. Anthony was the leader, “applying to monasticism the methods he had learnt in his military career.” Dorotheus, monk The Holy Mountain, vol 1, pp 177-178).


8   Dorotheus, monk, The Holy Mountain vol 1, pg 179; Papoulides, “Unpublished Documents Concerning the Russian Name-worshippers of the Holy Mountain” in Makedonika 21 (1981) p. 276 (in Greek).

9  Russian Catacomb Saints, 1982 (p. 362) and Orthodox Word (1972)
10  Contemporary Ascetics of Mt. Athos; Archimandrite Cherubim, vol. 1, 1991, pp. 169 - 219
11  The Starets reposed in April 1913, before the Russian Synodal Decision was released.

12  Bulatovich spends an entire chapter of his book, The Glory of God is Jesus, (Christomanou Press, Thessalonica, 1913, Chapter 4, pp. 34 – 45) in which he calls Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky an “arch-heresiarch”, “drawing all the Russian Orthodox Church into apostasy.”(p. 43)

13  The Ascetical Homilies of St Isaac the Syrian, Holy Transfiguration, 2011, pg. 241-242

14 The 4th century heretic who declared, “A name is one and the same as the object named.” He believed that the name “un-originate” denoted the very essence of God.

15 Synodicon of Orthodoxy