The glorifying of schismatics is heresy.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ...” or we may now lament, “O Constantinople, Constantinople!”
Once you were a defender of true Orthodoxy, and now you have begun to promote worldly political agendas. Once you preached the heavenly homeland, and now you are grasping at earthly power!
Rise up! Not in defense of your own rights and powers but rather in the humble defense of Truth and Orthodoxy. Then we will gladly follow you!
My Grandmother is a full blooded Greek. My linage on this side goes back to Cappadocia where my ancestors lived for ages (they left during the exchange of populace). It is a great encouragement to know that many Greeks (including my ancestors) stood like an anvil in Holy Orthodoxy under the relentless hammer of Turkish Muslim rule.
Did they endure persecution, the seizure of property, and even death for the Ecumenical Throne of Constantinople? Or was it rather for the Truth of Holy Orthodoxy? Yes, ultimately, it was for love of Christ Jesus and His Church, Orthodoxy, that they endured.
Orthodox Greeks, do you not see your fellow Orthodox brothers and sisters in Ukraine suffering valiantly, as once did your ancestors? They have been persecuted by the Government forces, heretics, and radical nationalists. They have lost church buildings, they have been forced out of homes, they have been beaten – all for the same Holy Truth for which your ancestors stood. Now, will you not stand with your Orthodox brethren? Or will your own ancestors condemn you and your silence? Does not the blood of Christ Jesus in Holy Communion bind all Orthodox together in a manner greater than ethnic bloodlines (as great as they may be)? Are we not all of the “Orthodox race” through holy baptism?
With great grief and sadness I read the news that the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) intends to give the “Athenagoras human rights” award to the schismatic and false “metropolitan” Epiphany of the illegitimate “orthodox church of Ukraine.” This act is endorsed by the Greek Archdiocese of America and its Hierarch, Archbishop Elpidophoros, together with a Jesuit like group called the “Archons.”
It seems now that all one has to do is “support the Ecumenical Patriarch” (with no questions asked) and one is a human rights hero (does the EP now stand for all of humanity too?).
I have no ill will towards the EP but the EP is not Orthodoxy, nor is it the sole standard thereof, nor a “first without equals.” The EP is called, as every Patriarchate and every Bishopric, to uphold the standard of Orthodoxy. This standard is not directly equated with any one Patriarch or Bishop. Every Patriarch, Bishop, Priest, Monk, and Laymen is subject to the Gospel and Holy Orthodoxy. (Let one recall the numerous times that the EP, and other Patriarchates, have espoused heretical teaching.) The EP is currently promoting a false "church" as a true one; this action is both erroneous and detrimental to the True Church.
In a number of previous articles, I have outlined how nefarious the false church in Ukraine is. One may also reference the article linked above.
“You shall know them by their fruits,” says our Lord (Matt. 7:16). The testimony of the fruit of the false church in Ukraine, which is supported by the EP, is that it is not Christian. Its “hierarchs” are indeed wolves in sheep's clothing, mercenaries in pastoral garb.
Does the EP have the authority to override the Gospel? Does it have the power to turn stones into children of Israel? It does not. (Only true repentance can truly change a man by grace.)
Why is a lie being promoted as truth? The claim is that “In Ukraine he (Mr. Epiphany) has already provided the Solomon-like wisdom that was needed to reunify the Church, return to Eucharistic unity, and establish it as an integral member of the group of autocephalous Orthodox Churches worldwide.”
This is a preposterous and outright deceptive claim; every point in it is false. The facts are that Epiphany (and those under him) has caused greater division and promoted persecutions; he has acted in an altogether unchristian manner. May we now be heathen in vestments as long as we work “as a defender of the religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate ...”? What does it say of such “freedoms” when it enlists false christians to defend it?
Has the EP replaced Christ the Lord as the standard of Holy Orthodoxy and the Head of the Church? Has the goal of maintaining the perceived honor and prestige of the EP replaced the true Christian vocation of being a humble servant of Christ the Lord and His Church?
“A dispute also arose among the disciples as to which of them ... was the greatest. And Jesus said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become the youngest, and the leader as one who serves'” (Lk. 22:24-26).
The giving of this “award” to the false “Met.” Epiphany is an absolute disgrace and travesty. How can an uncanonical “Bishop” with an illegitimate “ordination” who heads a “church” that actively persecutes (with violent acts) the longstanding true and canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church be given a “human rights” award from an Orthodox Patriarch? The Scripture says, “If anyone says 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn. 4:20).
Are we so in love with our own selves that the Scriptures are no longer relevant? Are we simply going to praise whitewashed tombs because they serve worldly political agendas and aggrandizement? Will we be silent as true Christians suffer and false ones are exalted? Woe to us if we lose our salt, for we will be trampled underfoot even in our pretty vestments. Woe to us when we call evil good. And such an action is calling that which is evil – schism, division, and persecution – good. Or as another priest has already said, “somehow this looks completely demonic.”
Those that promote and agree with these actions are in fact participators in them. They themselves are also facilitators of the persecution of the True Church in Ukraine; their hands are also stained with blood. The entering into unity with a schismatic group means that there is a communing of the same spirit.
The glorifying of schismatics is heresy.
Will other Orthodox Hierarchs (around the world, but most of all in America where the award is to be given) speak against this new machination of the EP? Will we stand with the true Hierarch of Ukraine, His Beatitude, Met. Onuphry? Will Orthodox Greeks honor their laudable ancestry and heritage by speaking out in defense of their true Orthodox brethren in Ukraine? Or will they become like new Turks: participators in the active persecution of fellow Orthodox?
Fr. Zechariah is an Orthodox priest in Pueblo, Colorado, at the Archangel Michael Orthodox Church. He blogs at The Inkless Pen, and is a regular contributor at Russian Faith.
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