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

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.

Chronology: Document 13

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

From: Met. Ephraim []

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

Subject: 2 attached articles


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

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

Chronology: Document 12

The Entire Canon 15 of the First-and-Second Council Which Met in Constantinople in 861 AD

The portion pertinent to this Chronology is italicized.


The rules laid down with reference to Priests and Bishops and Metropolitans are still more applicable to Patriarchs. So that in case any Priest or Bishop or Metropolitan dares to se-cede or apostatize from the communion of his own Patriarch and fails to mention the latter’s name, in accordance with custom duly fixed and ordained, in the divine Mystagogy, but, before a synodal verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgment against him, creates a schism, the holy Synod has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law. Accordingly, these rules have been sealed and ordained as respecting those persons who under the pretext of charges against their own presidents stand aloof and create a schism and disrupt the union of the Church.

But, as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Synods or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop, before any synodal verdict has been rendered, but also, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism but, on the contrary, have been sedu-lous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions.

The Rudder, p. 470-471.
, pp. 470-471.

Chronology: Document 9


Declarative Statement Submitted to the Bishops for Their Approval and Signature


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

Chronology: Document 15

Minutes of the HOCNA Synod Meeting Wherein the Hierarchs Recognized

the Orthodoxy and Canonicity of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece

Presided Over by Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens

The Synod meeting takes place in the Holy Metropolis House of Boston under the Presidency of His Eminence Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston, on September 21/October 4th, 2010.

1) Motion by Metropolitan Moses to except [sic: accept] the motions of the previous Synod meeting. 2nd by Metropolitan Ephraim. Motion carries unanimously.

2) Motion by Bishop Demetrius:

Having clearly examined the ecclesiastical situation in the Orthodox Church within the past decade, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in North America has unanimously resolved to continue the path that it has been following, namely to "follow in the footsteps of the Holy Fathers". These Holy Fathers from generation to generation have fought tirelessly to preserve the Orthodox Faith and the unity of the Faith, witnessing It's purity to the world. Our contemporary struggle as the local Orthodox Church in America deals with the heresy of Ecumenism. As is the case in every generation, whenever heresy enters into the Church, much confusion and even administrative division results. Holy Fathers such as Saint Cyril of Alexandria, St Eusebius of Samosata, St Meletios of Antioch, St Basil the Great, St John of Kronstandt, and many other holy fathers, taught that the unity of the Orthodox Church is an important dogmatic reality, since it is an expression of the love which Christ taught us and which is the greatest commandment of all. The Saints prayed for unity in the Liturgy ("make to cease the schisms in the Churches"
Liturgy of St Basil the Great). Today, however, we see with great sorrow that suspicion, malice, ambition etc, have displaced the love among some Orthodox Christians. We believe that this suspicion and malice must cease; otherwise, it will be the cause of greater harm.

Within the past five years, our Synod of Bishops have come to the realization that the Unity of the Faith is of utmost importance. Therefore, by Divine providence, we have found ourselves, albeit unofficially, having dialog and friendly contacts with members of the Synod of the late Archbishop Chrysostomos Kioussis of Athens. This is only fitting since this Synod is the closest Synod to us, since our Church in North America was established by the Church of Greece under the Presidency of His Beatitude, Archbishop Auxentios. The two Synods found themselves separated in 1984, but this separation had nothing to do with matters of Faith and both Synods officially have an identical ecclesiology. After the repose of Archbishop Auxentios, the Synod of Archbishop Chrysostomos lifted their depositions against the Archbishop and reinstated him in the diptychs.

Now that Archbishop Chrysostomos Kioussis has also reposed, we bring to mind the words of St Photius the Great: " Let God consign previous events to oblivion. As for us, let us find strength in forgiveness and not call wrongs to mind. It will be best to remain silent about these affairs, or at least to speak about them only briefly and with restraint. Since we are sinful and insignificant people, it will be best to stay quiet about the enmity we caused; only in the case of great need should we speak about it at all".

For reasons of Church unity, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in North America also unanimously resolves to lift depositions imposed in 1985 against those bishops currently be-longing to the Synod of the late Archbishop Chrysostomos Kioussis, with the aim of achieving full Eucharistic Communion in the future with this Synod, whensoever God wills it. In lifting these depositions, we hereby recognize de facto that the Church of Greece is headed by the Synod of the late Archbishop Chrysostomos Kioussis. The faithful who travel to Greece are free to attend the Churches which belong to this Synod with the full blessing and approval of our Synod of Bishops. 2nd by Metropolitan Ephraim. Motion carries unanimously.

3) Motion by Metropolitan Makarios that the Holy Synod dissolve the office of locum tenency of the throne of Athens held by Metropolitan Makarios up until now. 2nd by Bishop Demetrius. Motion carries unanimously.

4) Motion by Metropolitan Moses that the Holy Synod write a letter of condolences for the re-pose of Archbishop Chrysostomos to the Holy Synod of Greece. 2nd by Metropolitan Ephraim. Motion carries unanimously.

5) Motion by Metropolitan Makarios that the Holy Synod write a congratulatory letter to the new Archbishop of Greece. 2nd by Metropolitan Ephraim. Motion carries unanimously.

6) Motion by Metropolitan Ephraim that we adjourn the meeting of the Holy Synod and meet again the next day. 2nd by Bishop Demetrius. Motion carries unanimously.

The meeting of the Holy Synod continues on September 22/October 5, 2010.

1) Motion by Bishop Demetrius that Priestmonk Basil of Holy Transfiguration Monastery make a study on Eparchial Synods. 2nd by Metropolitan Ephraim. Motion carries unanimously.

2) Motion by Metropolitan Makarios that Ecclesiastical decrees that require the signature [sic: signature] of a hierarch must be promulgated and signed by the ruling hierarch of the local Metropolis. 2nd by Bishop Demetrius. Motion carries unanimously.

3) Motion by Metropolitan Moses that we adjourn the meeting of the Holy Synod. 2nd by Metropolitan Ephraim. Motion carries unanimously.

Submitted faithfully in Christ,

+Bishop Demetrius

Secretary of the Holy Synod

Chronology: Document 16

Statement of St. Mark of Ephesus Cathedral Clergy
September 3/16, 2012
St. Anthimus the Hieromartyr

Most Rev. Ephraim, Metropolitan of Boston; Most Rev. Makarios, Metropolitan of Toronto; and Rt. Rev. Gregory, Bishop of Concord:

Dear Masters, purported internal theological errors in the Epistle of the Russian Synod of August 1913 are not at issue here. The issue is that the whole Orthodox Church has accepted all the synodal decisions regarding Name-worshipping without conditions and reservations, but you wish to qualify your possible acceptance of these decisions. Certainly, no sound Orthodox Christian, including us, on coming across a genuine theological error, would agree with that error, but that does not invalidate the decisions. In actuality, the Name-worshippers are not concerned with the internal theological errors; they are concerned with the decisions, themselves, which condemn the teaching they advocate. This is their real target.

None of this was an issue anywhere in the Orthodox Church until today’s Name-worshipping advocates made it an issue. The whole Church, and our jurisdiction there-in, was in peace over this matter until it was recently thrust on the Church. So, since you have permitted the Name-worshipping doctrine to come into our midst, we have been asking you to make it clear that you accept the decisions without conditions and reservations just as all of Orthodoxy has done now for about 100 years. Further, if you say it is the proper province of the Russian Church to deal with this issue (and that Church has been at ease with the decisions), who is our Synod, and what are you doing raising the issue and nit-picking your way through the decisions?

In any case, it is clear to us from your response of 29 August/11 September, 2012, and from your earlier statements, that you object to the decisions against Name-worshipping as they have been universally accepted by the Orthodox Church. This puts you in opposition to all of Orthodoxy and to New Hieromartyr St. Tikhon’s expressed position that these decisions stand.

Therefore, we herewith submit our withdrawal, together with the majority of the pa-rishioners of St. Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Cathedral who on this day have voted to do so, from The Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Boston under the jurisdiction of The Holy Orthodox Church in North America. We are leaving on the canonical grounds of pre-serving our Orthodox Christian confession of faith. Because of this reason alone, we are not creating a schism. Yet further in this regard, we are not creating a new synod but going to a Synod of Bishops that already exists. Indeed, we are seeking refuge in the very Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece which you, in your decisions, dated September 21/October 4, 2010, by your de facto recognition thereof and the lifting of the depositions (Motion 2) publicly and synodically acknowledged to have soundness in its confession of Faith and integrity in its canonicity, so much so that you dissolved the office of locum tenens of the throne of Athens (Motion 3), effectively relinquishing the See of Athens to that Synod.

We pray for the forgiveness and blessings and salvation of our merciful Savior on us all. Amen.

(signatures of Fr. Christos Constantinou, Fr. George Kamberidis, Fr. Demetrius Houlares)

Chronology: Document 5

— A —

Pamela Houlares <>

Metropolitan Ephraim <>

Bishop Demetrius <>

Monday, January 16, 2012 8:50 AM

Meeting, Saturday, January 21, 2012

Your Eminence Metropolitan Ephraim:

I kiss your right hand.

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

In Christ,

Diaconissa Pamela

— B —

January 30, 2012

Your Eminence Metropolitan Ephraim,

I kiss your right hand,

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Christ,

Diaconissa Pamela Houlares