Blessed Disobedience or Evil Obedience? - Full Text with Footnotes

Archpriest Theodore Zisis, Professor of Thessaloniki University of Aristotle — Blessed Disobedience or Evil Obedience?

Θεσσαλονίκη, 2006. Translation from Greek to Russian, 2009. Translation to English, 2020.

Archpriest Theodor Zisis, professor of the theological faculty of Thessaloniki University named after Aristotle (FUA) [1], was born in 1941 on the island of Tacoc [2] in the village of Panagia, to a priest's family. 

In 1965, he graduated from the Theological Faculty of Thessaloniki University and as the best graduate was enrolled in the law faculty of FUA, but interrupted his studies in connection with the beginning of the Faculty of Theology in the FUA.  

He also graduated from the graduate school in Thessaloniki, at the department of historical theology, under the guidance of the famous pathologist P. Christ    [3]. In 1971, he was awarded a doctorate for his dissertation "Man and the Universe in the Housebuilding of God according to the teachings of St. John Chrysostom," and in 1973 for a study on "The Art of Virginity. The Holy Fathers of the Church in Defense of Celibacy ”he was appointed associate professor of the theological faculty of the FSA.

In 1972-1973 and 1979-1980, Father Theodore was going through advanced training in West Germany (Bonn).

Having presented to the department along with other publications a large monograph “Gennady II Scholarius. Life - Scripture - Doctrine ”[4], in 1980 he was elected a full-time teacher of theology. In 1982, after the division of the Faculty of Theology of the FUA  into two departments, he moved to the department of pastoral and social theology, where he currently teaches. He was the dean of this department twice.

Immediately after the founding of the patriarchal Institute for Patriotic Studies at the Vlatadov Monastery [5], Father Theodore became his scientific associate, then he served as director of the Institute (1977–1986), as well as editor and secretary (1968–1970) of the Heritage magazine published by the Patriarchal Institute.

In 1970, he became a research fellow at the Center for Byzantine Studies of the Federal Armed Forces, then head of the department of theology (1988-1998), and later became the director of the Center (1991-1995). Father Theodore is a member of the editorial board of the Byzantine Heritage magazine and other publications of the Center. For several years he was chairman of the Union of Theologians of Northern Greece and published the journal The Union of Theologians. Repeatedly he was the organizer and active participant in various international scientific conferences.

Archpriest Theodore Zisis is a cleric of the Ecumenical Patriarchate [6]. In December 1990, he was ordained deacon, and in March 1991 - to the rank of presbyter in the monastery of St. Anastasia the Solvers [7] and held pastoral services in it until the beginning of 1993. From April 1993 to this day, with the approval of the official church authorities, he has served in the church of St. Anthony the Great in Thessaloniki [8], remaining in the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople.

He represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate [9] and the Hellenic Church [10] at inter-Christian meetings many times, taking part in Orthodox dialogues with both old Catholics and modern Catholics;  he also participated in inter-Orthodox meetings to prepare the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. For severe criticism of the justification of the union and unacceptable documents for the church signed in 1993 in the town of Balamand [11], the Patriarchate of Constantinople forbade him to participate in dialogues with Catholics.

In 1998, together with like-minded people, he founded the Orthodox Education Society. He currently leads the publication of the theological almanac of the Society for the Life of the Commandments, which, despite all the problems and difficulties, has been published with God's help every three months for seven years.

Initially maintaining good relations with the Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos [12] (when he was still Metropolitan Dimitriad [13]), Father Theodore came to a sharp confrontation with him, especially since 2001 - since the preparation and implementation of the visit of the late Pope John Paul II to Athens. Archpriest Theodore believes that, led by His Beatitude Christodoulos, the Hellas Church, due to ongoing close contacts with the WCC [14] and with representatives of other religions, has lost the faithful path indicated by the apostles and holy fathers, and is following the path of inter-religious and inter-Christian syncretism [15], according to the paths of ecumenism to all.

In connection with the irreconcilable position of Archpriest Theodore on this issue, as well as because of his open criticism of ecumenical contacts and the moral decline and conciliation of the bishopric in general, in June 2005 he was banned - a ban on clergy. However, the outrage because of this breach of church unity and the ardent support of many clerics contributed to the fact that in September 2005 the punishment was lifted.

Father Theodore speaks German and French. During his fruitful life, he published a large number of studies, monographs, and articles devoted to theological and historical topics and various problems of social and church life.

Author's Foreword

In 2005, the Greek Church experienced a serious crisis: revelations against some bishops and the scandals in which they were involved, affected not only herself, but also had detrimental consequences for the most ancient church of Jerusalem. All this shook the faith of the believers in the clergy and filled the quivers of enemies of the Church with poisonous arrows.

Unfortunately, the hierarchy was not able to resist the crisis, since it completely discredited itself. Most archpriests were in fear and indecision, not daring to take any steps to overcome the crisis. One serious and reasonable bishop explained his inaction (as well as other hierarchs) by the fear of various attacks from those who brought the Church to such a deplorable state.

As for the parish clergy, consisting mainly of married clerics, they, deeply concerned by the abasement of the holy dignity by unworthy shepherds, did not dare to express their opinion on the current situation because of their fear of the bishop. The cowardly ministers of Christ justified their indifference by obedience to the bishops.

However, in this situation, this argument was completely inappropriate and even unacceptable, since it fettered any desire to resist evil and treacherously lulled the conscience. Indeed, while the Gospel is being violated and the truth is rejected, there is no justification for silence and inaction, for, indeed, God gives up silence. Therefore, the Scripture says that there is “a time to be silent, and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3, 7). And judging by the situation at that time, it was precisely the time when it was necessary not to be silent, but to speak. Therefore, we began to speak, analyze, propose a way out of the crisis.

Such boldness had quite predictable consequences: the Archbishop Christodoulos punished us by forbidding us in the ministry. Thus, an uncanonical act was committed, since such actions against a cleric who was under the jurisdiction of another Church (in this case, the Church of Constantinople) did not fall within the purview of the Primate of the Church of Greece, and therefore we could in no way be subject to his trial. Of course, Vladyka did this not without the tacit consent of the Ecumenical Patriarch himself, who also does not like the Orthodox word that agrees with Tradition ...

It is difficult to justify that which has no justification. Therefore, the fact that those people who plunged the Church into the abyss of scandals are still not punished causes righteous indignation and, in part, bewilderment. After all, to this day, those guilty who were a direct source of temptation or because of their silence and inaction were involved in scandals, have not been called to account - but this is mainly the hierarchy itself. But those were easily punished, who, pointing to the appalling state of affairs in the Church, called for awakening, for those who were guilty of scandals or implicated in them to take responsibility for what was happening. But, by the grace of God, and thanks to the ardent support of many of our brothers in Christ, near and far, we have stood and not changed our position.

The small fruit of this tireless struggle for the purity of Orthodoxy was this small pamphlet, which illuminates the subtle and painful topic for many of genuine obedience - that obedience taught by the holy fathers, but which, unfortunately, is still neglected and little known to us. And if the doctrine of true obedience is completely forgotten, then false teachers and false pastors will triumph, who will lead the flock in the wrong way, dragging it along with them into the abyss of eternal perdition.

June 2006
Archpriest Theodore Zisis

Chapter 1

Immediately After Ecumenism Came Homosexuality

Objectively assessing the situation in which the Church finds itself today, it should be recognized that it has strongly deviated from Tradition, participating in the heretical ecumenical movement [16]. The result of which were other deviations. So, in the church environment there is a rapid decline in morals, many clerics completely abandon the Gospel and the patristic way of life, and a considerable part of the episcopate surrounded themselves with luxury, often surpassing even secular people in this.

All this, of course, is the result of a cooling of faith. However, the current close contacts of the Church with Catholics, the honors and receptions rendered to the Pope in Greece [17] and in other Orthodox countries [18], probably also give grounds for the adoption of the secular way of life of the Catholic clergy by many clergy and justify complete pleasure, devoid of Gospel and patristic ideals, in the “life” of some of our modern priests and archpriests.

More recently, we wrote that the pontiff came to Greece and stayed. It turns out that he still left. But, leaving Greece, he left us a great many "popes", of various sizes and dignity, everywhere planting Catholic peace. 

Especially frightening is the penetration into the church wall of the worst sin of Sodom - homosexuality. Such scandals, connected with the names of some hierarchs, which have been left without due attention and consideration over the years, without any spiritual healing, discredit honest presbytery and cause distrust of the word of the Church. Who will now believe in us, the shepherds, when we talk about modesty, non-possession, contempt for all worldly and earthly things, asceticism, abstinence and virginity?

However, most clergy had already stopped talking about it for a long time, because they themselves do not believe in all this. Others hypocritically proclaim themselves to be virtuous in words, but their deeds testify otherwise. 

God's terrible anger poured out on the Sodomites because of their sodomy, fire from heaven utterly burned Sodom and Gomorrah [19], wiping these ancient cities from the face of the earth. Angry words against homosexuality are contained in the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Romans, however, as in other sacred texts. Upon learning of the case of fornication between close relatives in Corinth [20], the apostle demands that the lascivious person be expelled from the church community so that his example does not become a bad leaven. How can we dare to judge the world, the apostle of tongues argues, when we ourselves leave sin untouched in the body of the Church? “But I wrote to you not to communicate with someone who, being called a brother, remains a harlot, or covetous, or an idolater, or an abusive one, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with this one don't even eat together. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. So cast forth the corrupt one from among you” (1 Cor. 5, 11–13). 

Could the apostle, however, like other disciples of Christ and the holy fathers, imagine that there would come a time when the gospel would be violated and God's law would have no power? That not only fornicators would not be excommunicated from the Church, but sodomites would also be allowed to ascend the throne, to touch sacred vessels with their unclean, nasty hands? Could the saints of God have thought that we would participate in the WCC and not only have a meal, but also perform joint prayers with pseudo-Christians, with representatives of the so-called churches that have fallen so far from the truth that they have begun to bless same-sex marriage?

Nowadays, our bishops do not dare to boldly fight against the sin of Sodom (which the preachers of the gloomy Western Renaissance try to impose on Orthodoxy), since they themselves trample the Gospel, tolerating sodomites, fornicators, and pedophiles in the church community and not removing them from the body of the Church.

Therefore, the pointed Church teaching against homosexuality ricochets back to those who dare to pronounce it, with the help of such a counterargument: “Why don’t you notice your shamelessness? Why don't you see a shameful, unnatural vice in your midst?”

Unfortunately, today church hierarchs prefer to maintain good relations with the powers that be, obeying their worldly plans - syncretic, globalistic, ecumenical, environmental and social (hypocritical in fact). They apparently forgot that there is nothing more valuable and precious than God and true faith; that only Christ is the Light of the world and that their most important ministry and mission is to testify, preach and reveal this Light, which invariably shines in the One Holy Catholic (Catholic) and Apostolic Church. And everything outside the Church is the “Pagan Galilee, a people sitting in darkness” (Matthew 4, 15–16), which should be brought to the light, and not left in the darkness of godlessness, error, and heresy.

No human can themselves be a source of light, they cannot emit their own light. Defiantly believing that he is emitting light, such a person will in fact only thicken the darkness. Even with regard to the greatest of those born of women, St. John the Baptist, the evangelist writes that “he was not light, but [was sent] to bear witness to the Light. He came for a testimony, to testify of the Light, that all might believe through it” (John 1, 7–8).

He who does not believe that salvation in Christ is possible only in the Church, but believes that it can be found in heretical gatherings, is not only not saved, but also constantly suffers in himself the chastening wrath of God: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not believe in the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3, 36).

Does the Light of Christ, which enlightens all and invariably shines in the Church, have something in common with the darkness of ecumenism, equalizing and equating all religions and confessions of faith? Do we prefer the ascetic, equal-to-the-angels and heavenly Forerunner, or the secluded and mundane ecumenical leaders? Will we obey them - through whom the ancient earpiece and tempter, who once whispered to Christ, whispers to us about earthly blessings, vanity and power?

We are no longer the light of the world, for we do not shine with the purity of our lives, nor the salt of the earth, for we do not protect the world from the increasing moral decay. And therefore, as spiritually unfit, we are despised and trampled upon by people: “You are the salt of the earth. If salt loses its strength, then how can you make it salty? It is no longer worth anything, except to be thrown out to be trampled upon by men”(Matthew 5:13).

Previously, our Church, our ascetic, holy and immaculate Orthodoxy, thanks to the virtuous life of Orthodox pastors, had the moral right to denounce the prodigal lifestyle of the Roman Catholic clergy, as, for example, did St. Simeon of Thessalonica [21]: “And even fornication is not at all punished by their priests, but they openly have concubines and youths for debauchery, and at the same time they act as priests ... And they live a life contrary to the Gospel, because none of the pleasure and debauchery among them is subject to censure, and it is not considered to be something impermissible for Christians".

And today, our clergy, which have become a hotbed of sodomites and perverts, are already plagued with moral decay. The hierarchy, however, is not at all concerned about how to protect young people from seduction from the true path, or how to prevent all their communication with perverse personalities, especially in the church fence. Instead, it turns church justice against those who have a heartache for Orthodoxy, for its purity; it accuses them of disobedience and even of provoking a split of those who are faithful to Tradition. 

But can a statement of such facts, testifying to the ever-growing decline in morals among clerics, actually confuse and insult the believers, can it be a temptation?

Indeed, our remarks regarding matters of faith and church life worry many, and perhaps even depress them. But we raise these problems from the best of intentions and good intentions, and not because of any personal hostility to anyone. Honoring the episcopal dignity and good archpriests, we never incited anyone to split. And we don't intend to do this in the future either.

Chapter 2

Blessed Disobedience or Evil Obedience?

For a number of reasons, the great virtue of obedience, unfortunately, is misunderstood by many. Because of this, believers lose their freedom in Christ, their inner, spiritual potential and all ability to fight and practice asceticism. And in the hands of some, seemingly pious, “confessors” often turn out to be weak-willed and unfree creatures, into some kind of wordless and meek slaves...

The issue that has long existed in the Church has prompted us to seriously turn to the subject of obedience: most of us often identify the hierarchy, the primate and bishop with the Church itself, individuals with the whole institution, which the Church undoubtedly is. And therefore, the manifestation of disobedience in some issues to any of these persons is perceived as disobedience to the Church itself.

But what does obedience to the Church really mean? 

Does obedience to the Church mean obeying the head of the Church, the bishops and priests as individuals - regardless of whether they are good shepherds, or mercenaries throwing sheep to their fate or even into the arms of wolves? Despite the fact that they themselves might not be obedient to the truth of the Orthodox faith? Are they “faithfully teaching the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15)? Should we obey them regardless of whether everything they say and do is in accordance with the Orthodox teaching or a fallacy? And is it proper for us to follow any clergy and obey all of them, good and evil, observing everything that they teach, not deciding whether this is true or false?

Of course not! If such a distorted idea of obedience prevailed in the Church, then heresy would reign in it today, for the saints would have to remain in obedience to the heretical patriarchs and hierarchs; then Nicolaism [22], coupled with homosexuality, would have established itself forever in the Church...

All that the Holy Scriptures and holy fathers say about obedience to priests means obedience to good shepherds, vigilantly rejoicing in the truth and the salvation of the faithful. A classic example of this is an excerpt from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Hebrews: “Obey your teachers and be humble” (Heb. 13:17). However, he considers a necessary condition for such obedience, first of all, to be the vigilant care of the pastors for the spiritual salvation of the flock: “For they vigilantly take care of your souls, as they must give an account” (Heb. 13:17).

The apostle also encourages believers to remember their teachers. But what teachers? Those who, by an example of their lives, teach the word of God: “Remember your teachers who have preached the word of God to you, and, looking at the end of their lives, imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7). 

The same applies to the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch [23] about obedience to the hierarchy. Many advocates of bishopric centered ecclesiology appeal to his messages quite rashly, trying to find a legitimate basis or justification for the undivided authority of bishops, which often takes the form of tyranny even worse than that of the papacy.

Indeed, in his epistles, St. Ignatius encourages full obedience to the archpastor. But to every one? Father George Metallinos [24], attending various meetings of the clergy, where, with reference to the saint, substantiates the need for unquestioning and absolute obedience to the bishop, he always notes that he should also specify what merits he must have in order to demand obedience to himself. Indeed, not every bishop meets the high criteria that a true bishop must meet.

And in his epistles, St. Ignatius the God-bearer certainly implies obedience to the good archpastor, without a doubt, like he was himself. How many of the current hierarchs, like the saint, are an examples to follow - with their humility, ascetic character and active work against heresies, as well as their confession and willingness to suffer for the truth even to death? But it is precisely such worthy bishops who faithfully teach the word of truth that the Church commemorates during the celebration of the Eucharist. 

Is it conceivable to obey clergymen who do not preach the truth of the Gospel, who lead their flock to the abyss of perdition by the example of their lives, or who justify the heresy of heresies — ecumenism? And what would be worth imitating in the lifestyle of such clerics?

Holy disobedience is absolutely necessary when heresy and moral decay take on enormous proportions, when the Church, in the person of the hierarchy, falls into error, as is the case today with respect to the arch-heresy of ecumenism ...

Heresy defiles and afflicts the whole body of the Church, and therefore it does not matter that the pontiff visited only Athens or that the WCC met within the metropolitan area of Attica [25]. In matters of faith there is no such thing as "in my jurisdiction" or "in someone else's competence." So, the heretic Arius [26] appeared in distant Alexandria [27], and the Cappadocian fathers began to fight the new false doctrine [28]; or, for example, Nestorius began his heretical sermon in Constantinople [29], but the struggle was conducted mainly by Bishop Cyril of Alexandria [30].

Thus, no bishop can justify the fact that the pope’s foot didn’t enter the boundaries of their dioceses, or that the WCC conference was not held in their metropolis, or that they personally did not perform joint prayers with Catholics and Protestants. Since they did not oppose this, did not oppose it in any way, did not protest and did not raise their voice against this wickedness, it means that, along with all those involved in the heresy of ecumenism, they share responsibility and bear blame for what was done, and are equally involved with others in this error. After all, according to St. John Chrysostom [31], the bishop should  not only watch over his own diocese, but also over the Ecumenical Catholic Church [32] as a whole: “The primate should take care not only of the Church entrusted to him by the Spirit, but also of the ecumenical ".

Since we do not see anyone in the church hierarchy fighting ecumenism, opposing it, or somehow resisting the onslaught of Catholicism and the anti-Orthodox activities of the WCC, we are forced to raise our voices ourselves. But as soon as the Lord enlightens the archpastors, and they  begin to do at least something in the current deplorable situation, we will immediately be silent. And until this happens, we, simple clergy and monks, will have to fight it ourselves.

We are all responsible for the Church, and not only the bishops, for the Church is not someone else's private property. The bishop, together with the clergy, as well as the laity, as one body with the head - Christ, are responsible for it, each in their own way. Often, when patriarchs and hierarchs fell into error, only the elders and monks stood up to protect the Church from all kinds of heresies, and the faithful people have for centuries been generally recognized as the guardians of Orthodoxy.

And finally, having represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Church at inter-Christian conferences, we have seen that such theological dialogues not only lead to nothing, but, on the contrary, lead to apostasy [33] and falling away from Orthodoxy. Orthodox ecumenists participating in various meetings should do not witness about the truth of our faith, although they claim that they do. Actually, they simply hide behind this claim, using arguments to justify their participation in the WCC and other such organizations, and nothing more.

Chapter 3 

The Holy Scriptures on Obedience

Scripture makes a clear distinction between good shepherds and evil mercenaries, true and genuine servants of God, teachers and prophets on the one hand, and false priests, false teachers, and false prophets on the other.

Here are quotes from the book of the holy prophet Jeremiah [34], which are used by St. Gregory Palamas [35] in relation to modern heretical false shepherds:

  • “Amazing and terrible things are committed in this land: prophets prophesy lies, and priests dominate through them” (Jer 5:30–31).
  • “The shepherds became meaningless and did not seek the Lord, and therefore they acted recklessly, and their whole flock was scattered” (Jer. 10:21).
  • “Many shepherds spoiled My vineyard, trampled down My plot with their feet; My beloved site was made an empty steppe; they made it a desert ”(Jer. 12:10–11).

Christ himself clearly divides the shepherds into good ones and evil ones, prompting obedience only to the good shepherds, and by no means to the evil ones — the mercenaries who are only interested in their own profit and who do not intend to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the sheep, leaving them defenseless when attacked by wolves:

“A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. But the mercenary, not the shepherd, to whom the sheep are not his own, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees; and the wolf plunders the sheep, and disperses them” (John 10:11–12).

Many false shepherds entered the sheepfold, but not through the door, that is, not by the grace of God, but by “another way,” namely, by means of various types of simony [36]. And therefore, they, as Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain notes in his “Exhortative Instructions” [37], are not the chosen vessels of God, and they are not even proteges of the people, but simply impostors. 

That is why the sheep look at them like strangers, do not obey them and do not follow them - after all, they only follow the true shepherds: 

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he who does not enter the sheepfold through the door, but climbs in another way, the same is a thief and a robber; and the one entering by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep obey his voice, and he calls his sheep by name and leads them out. And when he will bring out his sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. They don’t follow a stranger, but they flee from him, because they don’t know a stranger’s voice” (John 10:1–5).

However, if the sheep, that is, the believers, for some reason nevertheless follow the evil shepherd, then they themselves will be responsible for this action. This is clearly stated in the Apostolic decrees. [38] The laity cannot claim that they are only obedient sheep, that they themselves do not decide anything, and that all responsibility lies exclusively with the shepherd, who will give the answer for everything. To think that way is disastrous, for a certain death awaits the sheep, not only when they do not follow the good shepherd and therefore are attacked by wolves, but also when they follow the evil shepherd. In conclusion, the Apostolic decrees offer the following advice, which is relevant at all times: "Therefore, it is necessary to run away from the shepherd-destroyers."

It is impossible to mention everything that the New Testament says about false teachers, false prophets, and false pastors. We will cite only the words of the holy Apostle Paul, addressed to the elders of Ephesus [39], whom he called to Militus [40], returning to Jerusalem from his last apostolic journey. He warns them that shepherds will appear soon — wolves in sheep's clothing — heretics who will do anything to disperse the flock. However, those who pervert the Gospel in order to attract listeners and try to make them their followers will also come out from among the elders themselves: 

“So pay attention to yourself and to the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, shepherding the Church of the Lord and God, which He has acquired for Him with His Blood. For I know that, after my departure, fierce wolves will come in to you, not sparing the flocks; and from among yourselves people will arise who will speak wrong things, in order to entice the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:28-30).

And finally, the apostle warns the faithful that in matters of faith and obedience it is necessary to exercise such caution and prudence that even if he himself or an angel begins to teach something else, previously unknown, then they should not obey:

“But if even if we or an angel from heaven begin to preach a different gospel to you than the one that we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).

Chapter 4 

The Holy Fathers on Obedience

Before giving examples of some statements of the saints regarding blessed obedience to bishops who faithfully teach the word of truth, and holy disobedience to heretics, we note the following. Many holy fathers, based on the Holy Scriptures, spoke directly and frankly about evil shepherds, strongly speaking out in favor of expelling them from the Church, especially when they seduce the people of God by their behavior.

Now, when they distort and abolish the Gospel, refuting and subverting the holy fathers, such false shepherds not only are not expelled, so that the so-desired and long-awaited catharsis can set in, but, on the contrary, they also receive unquestioning obedience. Those who refuse to obey those who pervert the Gospel and denounce them as being a source of temptation, are called insolent troublemakers and have trials over them to expel them from the Church. Is this not something ridiculous, strange and entirely unreasonable?

 1. St. Athanasius the Great 

Saint Athanasius [41], realizing the seriousness of the question of unworthy, evil clerics, who seduce the faithful with their behavior, boldly states the following: It is preferable for believers to gather in prayer houses, that is, in churches, alone - without bishops and priests - rather than inheriting fiery hell together with them, as happened with those Jews who, together with Annas and Caiaphas [42] rebelled against the Savior:

“If the bishop or the priest, being the eyes of the Church, have unkind behavior and seduce the people, they should be cast out. It’s better to gather in the house of prayer without them than to be cast into the fiery hell with them, like Annas and Caiaphas.”

For us it is like hearing thunder on a clear day to learn that the clergy of all stations, whom we had thought to be pious and self-controlled, and whom the monks were ready to give full obedience to, had turned out to be  possessed with wicked vices, even those vices which we had not known of before.

One should be very careful with such hypocrites and "ascetics" with long, decorated beards, who do everything “so that their people can see” (Matt. 23:5). After all, the hypocrisy of old is undermining Christian morality, even among the monks. (Saint Eustathius of Thessalonica [43], who lived in the 12th century, was an enlightened and straightforward hierarch, and dedicated a separate work, “On Hypocrisy,” in which he condemned this sin angrily.)

Saint Athanasius writes of such duplicitous false shepherds as follows:

The Lord said: "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” If you see, brother, someone who has a decent appearance, don’t look to see whether he is dressed in sheep’s wool, whether he bears the name of priest, bishop, deacon or ascetic, but be quick to learn about his business, whether he is chaste, hospitable, merciful, loving, earnest in prayers, and patient.

If his god is his belly, if his throat is the path to hell, if he is greedy for money and makes it his god —  leave him alone. He is not a wise shepherd, but a predatory wolf.

If you know how to "tell trees by their fruits" — what kind of breed, taste, and quality they are — then all the more you should recognize betrayers of Christ by their deeds, since they, bearing the guise of reverence, have a devilish soul.

You do not collect grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, so why do you think that you can hear something good from criminals or learn something useful from traitors? Therefore run away from them, like from the wolves of Arabia, like from the thorns of their preaching, the burdocks of their injustice and the crafty tree.

If you see a wise man, as Wisdom teaches, go to him, and let your foot wear out the threshold of his door, in order to learn the inscriptions of the law and the gifts of grace from him. Not an eloquent word or an impressive appearance is introduced into the Kingdom of Heaven, but a perfect and unsophisticated faith along with virtuous and brilliant prudence.

We will give one more remarkable case from the life of St. Athanasius. One day he received the news that the monks of Cappadocia had risen up against the great saint Basil [44], when he, wanting to return moderate pneumatic wings to Orthodoxy [45], for the sake of oikonomia [46] avoided calling the Holy Spirit “Consubstantial” for some time. The presbyter Palladium, who reported this, wanted Saint Athanasius to instruct the Cappadocian monks to remain in one mind and obedience to their archpastor. 

However, the answer of the true champion of the Orthodox faith is completely opposite to the instructions that the current patriarchs and hierarchs give to monks when they try to protest against the deviation of the hierarchy from the teaching of the Church. So, St. Athanasius writes:

I already know about the Caesarean monks from our beloved Dianius, that they resist the bishop, our beloved Basil. I praise you for notifying me of this, and I told them what follows: that as children they should obey their father and not contradict him in what he teaches, after consideration.

If it were possible to suspect him of an incorrect understanding of the truth, then it would be good to go against him. But if you are firmly convinced, like all of us, that he is the praise of the Church,  and strives more for the truth, teaching those who need it, then it is necessary not to confront him, but rather to approve his good conscience. 

For from what the beloved Dianius told me, it is revealed that they are indignant in vain. Basil, as I am firmly convinced, has become weak to the weak, that they may be converted. And our beloved ones, while looking at the goal and watching it (and keeping to the truth), let them glorify the Lord, who gave Cappadocia such a bishop, which every country would like to have.

As you can see, St. Athanasius does not condemn the monks for being interested in matters of faith, and he does not compel them to confine themselves to fulfilling their monastic vows only (as if there is a higher duty than preserving the faith and protecting it!). He does not encourage the monks, having rejected canonical rigor, to follow the position of St. Basil, but advises them to try to understand his good intentions and approve of them. And since there is nothing reprehensible in this position of St. Basil, St. Athanasius encourages the monks to remain in obedience to their archpastor and to trust him. However, if there really was something doubtful in the position of the Cappadocian bishop, then their disobedience would be completely appropriate and fully justified.

But can we today, as the holy Athanasius once did, advise monks to remain obedient to ecumenical masters who have even abolished the very meaning of oikonomia as a temporary deviation from canonical rigor[47]? Can we say with certainty that these current relations with Catholics, Protestants, Monophysites [48] and other heretics occur exclusively for the sake of oikonomia?

Not at all! Indeed, none of the ecumenist hierarchs ever supported the defenders of the Tradition, explaining that the evasion of the purity of church teaching is allowed only for a short time and only for the sake of oikonomia, so that some of the erring and heretics — Catholics, Protestants and Monophysites — should convert to Orthodoxy. On the contrary, the opinion is imposed on us that everyone and everything belongs to the Church, and no one is outside its borders. As a result, the very notions of heresy and error went into oblivion. 

Thus the position of the ecumenists is not, apparently, a temporary phenomenon, for the benefit of the weak, but something permanent, because today no one treats the erring as infirm. Having elevated oikonomia to the rank of rule and even law, ecumenists completely neglect canonical rigor, rejecting it, supposedly seeing in it a manifestation of fanaticism and a lack of love. Presenting their position on canonical rigor, they punish all those who dare to point out that in this case we are talking about evading the purity of the Orthodox faith. Those who adhere to canonical rigor in dogmatic issues they call extremists, fanatics and fundamentalists.

So, according to St. Athanasius the Great, there is a righteous, uncondemned disobedience — holy divine disobedience — which is permissible and even necessary in cases where the church hierarchy incorrectly teaches the word of Christ's truth. 

2. St. Basil the Great 

St. Basil speaks very sharply with respect to those bishops who betray their faith for the sake of power and the benefits that accompany their position: he does not even consider them archpastors! And therefore, for example, he advised the Nikopol elders not to have anything to do with their Arian-loving bishop Fronton.

In fact, St. Basil induces them to disobedience - to holy and divine disobedience. He also warns that one should not be tempted by the fact that such hierarchs can often seem to be Orthodox and have the true faith: 

Just do not be deceived by the false word of those who proclaim it to be the true faith. After all, they are the betrayers of Christ, not Christians, who always prefer to live for their own benefit, and not in truth. When they decided to take this empty power, they joined the enemies of Christ, and when they saw that the people were indignant, they again pretended to be true believers.

I do not consider a bishop and do not rank among the priests of Christ the one who, with unclean hands, was put forward to a place of primacy in order to destroy the faith.

Wanting to express his opinion regarding the heresy-disease that hit the Church and to enlighten elders in this matter (however, leaving them the right to act on their own and at their discretion), St. Basil turns to the clergy of another diocese, without waiting for any approval or permissions from the higher church authority — the patriarch or the synod.

(We are often advised to take a blessing and notify the priesthood about everything, no matter what we are going to do, but we do not do anything reprehensible when, together with other clergymen and monks, we speak out on a number of serious church and theological problems.)

So, in his epistle, Saint Basil the Great writes:

Such is my judgment. And you, if you have at least something in common with us, of course, agree. If you rely on yourself, then everyone is his own master, and we are innocent of his blood.

I didn’t write this out of mistrust, but in order to resolve the doubt of those who know my opinion about how some would not gather with us or shake hands, and when peace came, they hastened to rank themselves as priests.

The saint displayed an uncompromising attitude towards heresy and its adherents in an unflattering way. It extended to the powers that be, including the emperor himself. Valens, who supported the Arians [49],  sent the eparch [50] Modestus with the order to persuade the stubborn and unyielding saint to obey [51] For all, having obeyed, yielded, both the patriarchs and the hierarchs — only Saint Basil was disobedient. (Probably, those prone to concessions and compromises said: "What, is he the only one who has the right faith? Are all the others mistaken?")

During a conversation with Modest, when the subject turned to obedience to the emperor and the fact that all the others had long submitted, the illustrious archpastor answered the eparch like this:

“You are rulers, and I do not deny that the rulers are significant people, but you are not superior to God. It is important for me to be in fellowship with you (why not, for you are God's creature), however, no more important than to be in fellowship with any other of your subordinates, for Christianity is determined not by the dignity of persons, but by    faith..." 

"No one has ever talked so freely to me." the emperor's messenger said. 

"Perhaps, ”answered St. Basil,“ you have not met a real bishop, otherwise, no doubt, when dealing with a similar subject, you would have heard the same words from him.  For in everything else, oh ruler, we are modest and humbler than any, as we are commanded to be. But not only before such power as yours, for we would not be arrogant before anyone else either. But when it comes to God, and they dare to rebel against Him, then despising everything in the world, we only hold Him before our eyes. ”

To the question: “Should one obey everyone, no matter what he orders?” — that is, whether everyone should be obeyed in everything — the Great Ecumenical Hierarch Basil answers the monks this way: For those for whom obedience, along with non-possessiveness and virginity, is one of the three monastic vows and one of the main virtues, it makes absolutely no difference who demands obedience from us, whether he is superior to us or below us. The only important thing is whether what we are advised or encouraged to do is in accordance with the commandments of God, with the Gospel truth.

Differences in dignity, ranks, or fasts should not affect obedience — obedience should be shown even to those who are lower than us in position. Therefore, the lords and even the leaders of the Churches should listen to the opinion of the lowest in rank when they give good advice, as the holy prophet Moses once obeyed Jethro [52].

So, when we are prompted to do something that is in harmony with the commandments of the Lord or encourages them to be fulfilled, then this should be followed with great zeal, as the will of God. However, when we are commanded to do something contrary to the commandments of God, something that distorts or defames them, we must respond to it in the same way that the apostles once responded to the high priests: “We must obey God more than men” (Acts 5:29).

Therefore, St. Basil also teaches us to avoid and in every possible way to turn away those shepherds who hinder us from obeying the commandments of God or who are inclined to do things that are objectionable to the Lord, no matter how true and sincere their piety and high position in the Church may be:

“Even if someone is very noble and extremely intelligent, but  hinders the fulfillment of the Lord's commandments or encourages others to do what is forbidden by Him, one must run away from him. He must be considered to be abominable for every one who loves the Lord."

3. Saints Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom 

St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian [53], in their writings, tirelessly sing the grandeur of holy clerical dignity. [54] In a truly incomparable way, while depicting the height of pastoral service and the highest spiritual qualities and the purity of clergy, they at the same time expose the fall and inconstancy of many of them — so that the difference between good and evil shepherds is understood.

Many of their writings often mention evil bishops. But this does not mean that they thereby fell into the sin of condemnation or reproach. Their only desire was to warn and protect the faithful children from evil bishops, who will also benefit from such a conviction, naturally, if they humbly and impassively want to hear the truth, thereby revealing true wisdom, for it is written in the Scripture: “Do not reprove the scolder, lest he hate you; reprove the wise man, and he will love you” (Proverbs 9:8).

St. Gregory, who suffered many persecutions and exiles from bad hierarchs, writes that he is not afraid of anything, neither attacks from humans, nor attacks from wild animals. The only thing he fears and would like to avoid is the evil bishops: “Deliver me only from evil bishops.” For the archpastors, appointed to be teachers, instead became the doers of all kinds of atrocities and various vices: “It is a shame to say as that it is this way, but I will say: those who are set to be teachers of the good, are the source of all evil.” We find a similar idea in St. John Chrysostom: "I’m not so afraid of anyone as bishops, excluding a few."

St. Gregory the Theologian also has wise words about this fact: The world that alienates us from God is bad (that is, when we accept what is not pleasing to Him or participate in what is contrary to His holy will), but war is laudable when we fight against lies, error, and sin.

We will state it this way: as there is good and bad obedience, so there is bad and good disobedience. And just as St. Gregory, speaking about peace and war, says that “scolding is better than a world that is parting with God,” we dare to claim that disobedience is better than obedience that separates us from the Lord.

4. The Venerable Maximus the Confessor

Saint Maximus, rightly called the Confessor [55], gives us an example of that responsibility in the struggle for the preservation of faith, which, first of all, is borne by the clergy, and then by the monks and the laity.

In those days, the heresy of monothelitlism reigned everywhere [56] (nowadays, unfortunately, the worst of all heresies — ecumenism — reigns everywhere) and the entire episcopate of the powerful Church of Constantinople obeyed the emperor and patriarch, who supported the heretics. There was only one monk who was 'rebellious' - the Monk Maximus. (Surely he was also known in his time as a rebel and disobedient, as even today opponents of ecumenism are accused of disturbing and scandalizing the flock with their words.)

Patriarch Peter [57] condemned St. Maximus for disobedience to the Church and threatened him with punishment. The monk replied that the Church is the right confession of faith, the truth of the Church, from which he would never fall away, and that the one who obeys the Church is not the one who changes the truth, but rather the one who protects it. 

Here is a small excerpt from this dialogue:

The patriarch addressed the confessor with the words: “What church are you part of? Constantinople, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? Here are all [these Churches] with the dioceses subject to them [united]. So, if you, as you say, belong to the Catholic Church, then unite [with everyone] so that, introducing a new and strange way, you will not be exposed to what you do not expect. ”

The saint replied to him in a manner worthy of his wisdom and piety: “God declared to everyone the righteous and saving confession of faith in Him, by the Catholic Church, calling Peter blessed for confessing Him. However, I want to know the condition (confession) on which the unification of all the Churches took place, and if this is done well, I will not alienate myself.”

Seven hundred years later, St. Gregory Palamas, who certainly knew the position of Maximus the Confessor, even more strictly stated that only those who accept the truth of the Church belong to the Church; those who are disobedient to this truth can in no way make up the Church, and have nothing to do with it. Such people engage in self-deception, even if they call themselves priests or bishops. Genuine and true Christianity is characterized and determined, not by individuals, but by immutable truth and adamant faith:

“And those who are from the Church of Christ are of the truth, and those who are not of the truth, they are not from the Church of Christ, however much they may lie about themselves and call themselves holy shepherds and archpastors, even if others also call them this. After all, we remember that Christianity is determined not by appearance, but by the truth and accuracy of faith.”

By carefully studying the works of St. Maximus the Confessor and his views, we can learn a lot that would be to our interest, but we will turn only to those facts that are vivid examples of good disobedience. 

Saint Maximus "sobbed and was gripped by the deepest sorrow", seeing how the heresy of monothelitism, supported by the state and church authorities, spread to the West and East. Therefore, he left the Church of Constantinople and went to Rome, which was not defiled by this heresy, and “pure from such a shame.” “Having left these places, he arrived there, defending the doctrine and following Orthodoxy there, although not without difficulty, and not without fatigue and torment did he follow such a path.”

On the way to Rome, the monk visited church communities in Africa in order to support and strengthen the Orthodox, communicated with local bishops, strengthening the Chalcedonian faith in them [58], arming them with arguments against heretics, passing on his knowledge and experience. After all, he perfectly understood that to confront the heretics, church dignity is not enough — theological knowledge and rich experience are necessary. (Now, some believe that after the episcopal ordination they become skilled theologians and therefore require absolute obedience to themselves.)

Being a simple hieromonk, he was superior to any archpastor in wisdom and judgment. Therefore, the hierarchs obeyed him. “After all, even if they were higher in position, they were lower in wisdom and understanding, not to mention the other virtues and the good glory that this man enjoyed among all. Therefore, they yielded to his words and unquestioningly obeyed his exhortations and advice, which brought them such a great benefit. ”

Having entered the Diocese of Constantinople for the second time in 654, the Monothelitic Patriarch Pyrrhus [59] again returned to his heretical convictions, although before, after his conversation with the Monk Maxim, he had publicly condemned the heresy. Now he tried in every possible way to break the will of the saint, “thinking that if he subjugates him, then he will subjugate everyone else.”

Therefore, despite the advanced years of the ascetic (at that time he was eighty years old), St. Maximus was subjected to indescribable humiliation and torment, together with his disciple Anastasius, as well as Pope St. Martin [60] and other Western hierarchs who were forcefully brought to Constantinople.

With the help of a false, crudely concocted accusation, at multiple meetings, heretical bishops tried to break the confessor and intimidate him, but all their efforts were in vain. Threats and flattery interspersed with interrogations did not intimidate or seduce the saint, who remained faithful to the Truth and “completely adamant, firm and unshakable in spirit.”

Therefore, the heretic, Bishop Theodosius of Kessaria, made another attempt to convince the saint, saying that they completely agreee with him and that they were not changing the creed, but acting so solely for reasons of oikonomia [61]. “What appeared for the sake of oikonomia should not be taken as a true dogma, just as the tipos now offered to us appeared under the pretext of oikonomia, and not in accordance with the dogmas.”

The Venerable Maximus answered that there was no room for oikonomia and compromise in matters of faith, and those who try to justify their deviation from the purity of the Orthodox teaching by oikonomia, are liars who should not only not be obeyed, but, on the contrary, should be turned away in every way, so that through fellowship with them one does not participate in their wickedness.

“This comes from false teachers and deceivers, who should not be trusted, but shoud be evaded as far as possible, and one should move away from them so that he does not become a victim of any evil from communicating with them.”

No methods or tricks could break the saint, who declared: “All the power of heaven will not convince me to obey you, for what I will bring as my justification (I do not mean to God, but to my conscience), if for the sake of human glory, which is nothing, I renounced the Faith that saves me? ” (Today, heretical hierarchs, in pursuit of human glory, having completely forgotten about God and their conscience, are calling us to implicit obedience, forcing us to submit to ecumenism.)

And finally: in the life of the Venerable Maximus it is told how, with the beginning of the spread of heresy, “the emperor left the correct teaching, and much of the Church with him, and a considerable part of the people turned to heresy." In the end, the only patriarch to be faithful to Orthodoxy was Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem [62], around whom the Orthodox, clergy and laity were able to rally: “The whole priesthood and the Orthodox people gathered around him.”

(God grant that in our days the Lord would show the world at least one patriarch or two or three bishops, spotless from the shame of ecumenism, so that “the priesthood and the Orthodox people” could unite around them.)

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the enormous contribution that the holy fathers made to the formation of a healthy relationship between the Church and the Byzantine state, first of all, their zeal in preventing "an emperor-pope" [63], and also their efforts to establish a symphony [64] between the Church and the state.

Thus, St. Maximus, condemned for his words that “it is unjust and ridiculous to call the king a priest,” explains that in reality he only formulated and expressed the Church’s position on this issue, according to which “accepting definitions and talking about dogmas are more appropriate to priests than kings. Since they are allowed to perform the ritual of anointing and ordaination, to make the offering of bread, to stand before the altar, and to fulfill all the rest of the Divine mysteries."

5. The Venerable Theodore the Studite 

The lives of Saints Maxim and Theodore [65] are somewhat similar. The Venerable Theodore was also a simple hieromonk (by the way, so was St. John of Damascus [66], who crushed the iconoclasts - the patriarchs and hierarchs. Maybe some people believe that he also was disobedient to the Church?). But it was St. Theodore the Studite who had to defend the truth in two important and serious Church and theological issues of that time, while the official church, represented by the patriarch and the synod, compromised and made concessions, thereby abolishing and overthrowing the Gospel, the Holy Canons and Tradition in general.

The first problem arose in connection with the second marriage of the autocrat Constantine VI [67], and the second as a result of the iconoclastic [68] policy of the emperors Leo V [69] and Michael II. [70] 

For no good reason, Emperor Constantine hid his legal wife in a monastery and began to demand a church blessing for marriage with his beloved Theodota.

However, divorce and second marriage are prohibited by the gospel and church canons. As you know, the Lord Himself abolished the ease with which the law of Moses allowed divorce (which was not always to the woman's benefit), completely forbidding divorce for any reason, except in the case of marital infidelity - “except for the fault of adultery” (Matt. 5:31–32). Thus, Christ taught about the permanence of marriage: “So what God has joined, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:3-10).

Therefore, the emperor’s second marriage, which was nevertheless consecrated by the presbyter Joseph [71] when Saint Tarasius finally gave way, was considered by the Venerable Theodore not as a marriage, but as "adultery", and the one who performed the marriage was not a priest, but an "adulterer." However, the ascetic not only did not approve of the king’s second marriage, considering him “outside the divine and human institutions,” but also immediately condemned this act, interrupting church communion with both the “adulterer” himself and those who were in communion with him — with the ruler himself and even with the patriarch.

The saint explained that this lawlessness overthrows the Gospel and abolishes the holy canons; it is nothing more than an attempt to change the unchanging commandments of God and make them changeable, which makes God Himself changeable and perverse:

“Justifying this daily with the above references and exceptions, they really violated the Gospel, according to the judgment of the saints, and it is suggested that for every crime there is oikonomia, in order to change the unchanging commandments of God and make them changeable ... It follows from this that God is changeable and perverse. It’s as if someone had bluntly said that the Gospel is indifferent to salvation and perdition.”

In another place, St. Theodore, referring to the opinion of St. Basil about the immutability of the commandments, wrote:

“So, the commandments of God are said by true teachers to be necessarily observed, and not perverted so that they may be observed, or not observed — to observe such and such, or sometimes not, or sometimes to observe it, and sometimes not. God's commandments must always be observed, by every person and at all times.”

The saint rightly believed that if one did not condemn this adultery, then the example of the Roman emperor[72] could also bring evil to other rulers of the state, and also serve as a bad example outside the empire, being passed down from generation to generation as an incurable disease: 

“So the king of the Lombards, and the king of the Goths, and the governor of the Bosphorus, referring to this violation of the commandment, indulging in depraved aspirations and unrestrained desires, will hold up the act of the Roman emperor as a convenient excuse, since he fell into the same sin, having received the consent of the patriarch and the bishops."

However, it was not the emperor’s sinful act, but the bluntness and boldness of the abbot of the Studion monastery, St. Theodore, that served as a model for other bishops, elders and monks. Having ascertained that the position of the saint in all respects agreed with the Gospel, they excommunicated those who, within their jurisdiction, did such lawlessness, belittling and devaluing Tradition. “It is not permissible for you to have wives contrary to laws decreed by Christ,” they echoed after St. Theodore, echoing what Saint John the Baptist, the patron saint of the Studion, said to Herod: “You must not have your brother’s wife” (Mark 6:18).

A fearless defender of Tradition, the Venerable Theodore was well aware that this standing up for the truth could cost him a lot. He understood that not only he, but also all the inhabitants of the famous Studion Monastery could suffer for their firm determination in upholding their convictions. However, in spite of everything, St. Theodore boldly continued to uphold the truth, for which he was ready to sacrifice everything.

Therefore, he despised his peace and the peaceful spiritual work of his quiet monastery. He was not afraid of suffering, difficulties, or intimidation; he was not seduced by promises and bribes. For he considered the defense of Gospel truth to be above everything else in the world, the distortion of which will certainly entail the most serious consequences for spiritual life and salvation itself.

Soon, in fact, he was sent into exile, and the brethren were forcibly distributed to other monasteries. But although persecution was raised up against the Venerable Theodore, he did not suffer in vain, because his words and deeds ultimately restrained the spread and aggravation of evil. “For passions that are left without punishment constantly strive for the worst, like vipers.”

However, the saint suffered even more torment, from the severity of which he was many times on the verge of death, when he confronted the iconoclast emperors.

Leo V resumed the iconoclastic debate and erected new persecutions against the monks, especially against the main "instigator" — the Abbot of Studion, St. Theodore. Unfortunately, some bishops who agreed with the heretic king were immediately found, while others, unable to withstand the pressure, were forced to obey him. Therefore, when the ruler convened a council (815), which was to make a final decision regarding icon veneration, almost all the clergy and the monks were on his side.

At a meeting of the council, the king set forth his point of view, calling the veneration and worship of holy icons idolatry. In response to this, the icon-loving fathers expressed an Orthodox position, stating at the end that it would be wrong and completely against the Scriptures for them to continue sitting and discussing things with them, having ascertained that they were heretics. “It would be a great blessing for us, having learned that you are such people, to stop meeting with you. After all, the divine David would agree with us, saying that he would neither sit in a vain meeting, nor enter with the lawless, nor gather in the church of the evil ones. ”

After such a unanimous declaration, the Venerable Theodore "showed yet greater and more obvious courage." Despite the fact that the patriarch himself was present at the cathedral (the ruler did not succeed in subjugating him either) and there were other hierarchs who disagreed with the heresy and strongly opposed it, it was Saint Theodore, a simple hieromonk, who undertook to completely refute the king's arguments, since he was the most educated and virtuous among those present. “He was the first to speak because of the greatness of his speech and virtue.” (After all, it is not consecration by itself that makes a bishop a skilled theologian.)

The Monk Theodore, as the best of the theologians, irrefutably proved the necessity of the veneration of holy icons. Moreover, calling the heretics humanoid beasts, and their words and behavior deadly, he advised, as far as possible, to distance oneself from them and not even to meet with them at all, because with heretics "to talk is not only unnecessary, but simply harmful."

The emperor was enraged by the uncompromising position of the Venerable Theodore. He suppressed his anger with difficulty and, showering the confessor of Christ with abuse and ridicule, said with irony that they should meet again and continue the polemic, since he did not want to give St. Theodore a martyr's crown.

The general position of the icon-worshipers regarding the king’s proposal to meet again to discuss this issue is of great importance for us, since it clearly indicates the futility of continuing theological dialogues with the so-called heterodox, as the heretics are now respectfully called. The Holy Fathers believed that talking with those who were already condemned by the Church was meaningless, since they were completely immune to the truth, unable to accept it:

“After all, it’s useless to talk to the accused again, because they are deaf to the perception of the best things and incorrigible in everything."

In addition, the ascetic was perplexed: why had the emperor called them to the cathedral to discuss the issue, if the outcome was already predetermined in advance? After all, the discrepancy in the positions of the parties and the lack of an objective judge, able to impartially judge and make the right decision, did not portend anything else. And who would go against the will of the sovereign? After all, almost all fell under the power of the king, unable to withstand threats and fearing persecution.

The Venerable Theodore also reminded the autocrat, as other great fathers had done before him, that rulers should not interfere in church affairs, since this is the sphere of the clergymen. "The questions of the Church belong to priests and teachers, but the emperor is allowed to manage external affairs."

When the autocrat in fury asked the saint: “Are you then casting me out of the Church today?” - the fearless ascetic answered that he did not do this, but the holy apostle Paul, who says that the Lord placed, firstly, the apostles, secondly, the prophets, and thirdly, teachers, but not kings (see Ephesians 4:11–12). And, perhaps, the emperor himself set himself outside the Church by his actions: “And of course, you yourself, by doing what you yourself wish, have put yourself out [of the Church].” If he wanted to return to the bosom of the Church, he must support those who stand up and follow the truth: “If you want to be inside the Church once more, then stand with us who honor the truth."

These dialogues are of exceptional interest to us because they answer the question: “Who really excommunicate themselves from the Church: those who do not obey heretics and heretical archpastors and rulers, or those who separate themselves from the truth of the Gospel and the dogmas of faith?"

Not ceasing to make terrible threats, the hierarchs and rulers, assuring themselves that they could not make the Venerable Theodore and his like-minded people obedient to their errors, began to make every effort to ensure that they at least shut up. Thus, the eparch of Constantinople forbade the adherents of the saint to get together, demanding them "not to teach or talk about the faith at all." (The opinion that ordinary believers, and monks, too, should not deal with issues of faith, is very common in our days, since it continues to be actively introduced into the minds of people.)

The Venerable Theodore replied to this in the same way that the apostles answered the rulers of the Jews: “You be the judge: is it right before God to listen to you more than to God?” (Acts 4:19). (Therefore, we would rather prefer to lose our tongues than to stop defending the Orthodox faith, to the best of our ability to help it with our own words. It would be something strange and unreasonable if we, seeing some efforts to increase dishonesty, were sitting idly by at this time: “What is the reasonable basis for you strive to hold on to the worst and to remain silent about that which is much better?”)

As regards the question, should one speak and stigmatize evil, or is it better to remain silent, being obedient to the bishops and priests, Saint Theodore is clear — when the faith is in danger, no one should remain silent, but speak. No one can justify themselves by saying that "I’m not an archpastor or a shepherd, or even some important person, but just a simple person." — “For the commandment of the Lord is not to remain silent at a time when faith is in danger. “Speak,” He said, “and do not be silent” (Acts 18:9). “But if anyone hesitates, my soul does not favor it” (Heb. 10: 38). And again: “If they become silent, then the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). So, when it comes to faith, you should not say, “Who am I?

When a teaching of the Church is distorted and Christ is persecuted, in this case, when they were fighting against the holy icons, not only “he who has an advantage in rank and knowledge, [...] but also he who holds the place of a disciple, must boldly speak the truth and freely open their mouth." After all, heretics are seeking to ensure that the word of truth is not heard anywhere, but that error should reign everywhere.

If silence alone is already partly a sign of consent, then the written approval of heretical opinions in the face of the whole Church is already a betrayal of Orthodoxy. Unfortunately, today we have become unwitting witnesses of such betrayal - through the adopted documents and written decisions, the heresy of heresies - the wickedness of ecumenism - is spreading and dominating in our days.

No one is required to be in obedience to bishops and synods, when they are not faithfully teaching the word of truth. So, when the Council in 809 forgave the "adulterous" hieromonk Joseph, removing the ban from the priesthood and taking him into the clergy of the Church of Constantinople, the Venerable Theodore stopped all communication with the false teachers. And he didn’t mention any of those present at this “adulterous” council or who shared the opinion of its participants, for he rightly believed that “this adulterous heresy”, together with the perversion of the Gospel, violates and abolishes the holy canons.

Not only did he himself did not abide in obedience, but he also advised others to show disobedience and to stop the commemoration of heretics and their accomplices, for heretics and those who are in communion with them are not the Church:

“So that you, knowing that this is a heresy, avoid heresy or heretics, so that you may not have fellowship with them and may not commemorate them at the Divine Liturgy in the sacred monastery; for great threats are uttered by the saints to those who participate with heretics, even for those who eat with them. ”

From these and other similar statements it follows that the termination of communion for the Venerable Theodore meant not just some criticism or censure of the deed, but precisely the termination of the liturgical commemoration of the name of the bishop.

Thus, the heretical synagogue is not the Church; heretics and those in communion with them can in no way constitute the Church. Therefore, based on the centuries-old patristic Tradition, according to which the Church exists where there is truth, and also on the words of the Lord that He dwells where two or three gather in His name (Matthew 18:20), the Venerable Theodore argued that three Orthodox Christians can make up the Church:

“We will not submit the to this disturbance of the Church of God, which itself may consist of three Orthodox Christians, as defined by the saints.”

Thus, we, being Orthodox, are not only not obliged to obey those clerics who teach who-knows-what, defining new dogmas and offering hitherto unknown teachings, but we shouldn't even commemorate them as clergy:

“We have a command from the apostle himself, that if anyone teaches or commands us to do something other than that we have adopted, something other than that which is according to the rules of the Ecumenical and Local Councils, that one should not be accepted and we should not consider him to be among the saints; we shall not utter that painful word that he uttered. "

Let us cite another episode concerning the confrontation between the Venerable Theodore the Studite and his disciples, and those who demanded obedience to their errors.

So, when the emperor set out to justify and restore the “adulterous” hieromonk Joseph [73] at the council, the studites resolutely opposed this again, despite all the torment they suffered during the first persecution of the truth.

Wanting to persuade the studite monks to switch to his side, the king gathered them in the palace in order to speak with them. Having singled out the most prominent and educated monks, the king tried to persuade them to break with the Venerable Theodore, their spiritual mentor (whom he had previously exiled to one of the Prince Islands [74]). But all his attempts were unsuccessful, since these arguments were completely rejected by them. Then, going to the monastic assembly, he used the following trick: he suggested that those who wished to obey his advice “and be in communion with the patriarch and the collegiate church” should stand at his right hand, and those who persisted and remained unconvinced should stand on his left hand. He thought that with such a trick he would be able to mislead them, and lead those who had left everything in the world for the sake of divine obedience, "for a divine, obedient, immaculate life" to obey him. 

But, the monks, all in one accord, did not hesitate to stand on his left hand, the autocrat, amazed by such a “bold confession,” became enraged and ordered for all the monks to be sent to the nearest monasteries, “so that they would be protected by reliable guards as those who did not obey the royal and priestly orders."

The Venerable Theodore the Studite († 826), having made an invaluable contribution to finally bringing the Triumph of Orthodoxy, did not live to see this joy, presenting himself to the Lord shortly before the Council in 843, at which the veneration of icons of the saints was finally restored by the righteous Queen Theodora [75].

Another saint, the Venerable John of Damascus († 754), who worked hard to bring the Church to the triumph of the 7th Ecumenical Council (787), also did not see the fruits of his vigorous struggle for truth in the first period of iconoclasm. 

But this triumph of Orthodoxy was made possible largely thanks to their activities aimed at supporting the Orthodox faith among monks, against whom the iconoclasts fiercely rebelled. For the monks alone, in contrast to the often pliable and secular church authorities, always led the struggle for the purity of faith. 

If the church hierarchy even today, as well as the monastics, would fight against all innovations and deviations from the truth in the same way as the Venerable Theodore the Studite did, then not only would a third marriage not be recognized and blessed, but even a second marriage; and the matter would never have reached the acceptance and recognition of non-Orthodox marriages. Some of our clergy (especially celibates) would never have become a laughing stock and shame for Orthodoxy, would not have become so sadly like the Catholics - with their licentiousness and depravity. The Greek Prime Minister [76], having a legal spouse and children, would never have dared to appear on the plane with his mistress in front of all honest people! (And after all, not a single word of indignation or condemnation of the act of the head of government was heard from the lips of the church; mouths were firmly shut because of moral squalor and spiritual decline.)

The most regrettable thing is that most of the inhabitants living comfortably in the cloisters, generously financed by the state and the European Union, as well as by the donations of believers, reassure themselves by saying that they pray, fulfilling their spiritual duty — and yet at this time the Orthodox faith is overthrown, and ecumenism and the accompanying permissiveness and licentiousness strengthen their position.

In one of his epistles, St. Theodore the Studite refers to such indifferent monks who do not dare to join the struggle for truth, because they value quiet monastic residence above all else (the situation is painfully familiar — after all, much of the same thing happens today): “And why do we prefer current prosperity to God’s habitations and suffering for the good?”

It turns out that many people prefer a quiet, carefree life in monasteries, rather than obedience to the commandments of God. Those who hide behind the walls of the cloisters and, having monastic posts, prefer to sit back when it is necessary to defend the truth — they betray the faith and destroy their souls, which are more precious than anything.

Thus, it is not enough for us to be Orthodox only deep down in our souls — it should also be externally manifested. In this regard, the Venerable Theodore edifies one of the abbots:

“Therefore, beloved brother, if you want to be with us, the humble, then refuse to own the monastery, as you promised; to this we encourage you. Pray that you will be Orthodox both internally and externally, saving your venerable soul, which cannot be compared to any visible thing. ”

From all this it follows that many spiritual fathers, abbesses and elders should not remain inactive and serene, keeping their children from participating in the struggle against ecumenism, the receptacle of all heresies and delusions. After all, such a position runs counter to the whole history of Orthodox monasticism. So, when Emperor Anastasius [77], who was attached to the Eutychian [78] and Manichaean [79] heresies, decided to support the sinfulness of the Monophysites, the Venerable Savva [80] and Theodosius “ardently rebelled in defense of the faith, . . . they were ready to suffer death  rather than change anything that had been ordained." 

Saint Theodore is no exception. When speaking at the iconoclastic council he boldly professed his faith, and no one was able to persuade him to change it. Nothing could shake the faith of the saint or convince him to remain in obedience to the heretics and in fellowship with them - he even preferred to die rather than give up his convictions: “Finally, no matter how much the rulers wish it, our humility is more likely to suffer to death than renounce our sincere confession.”

The monks should show such constancy and strength in their faith, resolutely resisting even the slightest innovation or deviation from the faith. This is their job. 

“So, those who now profess to be monks, let them show it by their deeds. The monk’s business is to prevent even the slightest innovation in the Gospel, so that, having shown the laity what heresy and fellowship with heretics is, they may not be held accountable for their destruction.”

Thus, the zealot of Tradition also points to their responsibility, especially with regard to not setting bad examples for the laity - for if the monk does not count everything other than Christ to be garbage, then what should a lay person with certain responsibilities to his family do? “If the monastics do not consider everything to be garbage, that they may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8), that is, the monasteries and everything that is in them, then how will the layman be able to leave his wife, children, and everything else for Christ?” And finally: from the life of St. Theodore the Studite it becomes obvious to everyone that knowledge of the Church Tradition is not of such great value, as is firm adherence to the Tradition and observance of everything that was received from the Holy Fathers. How right they were when they taught absolute steadfastness in matters of faith, and completely excluded even the slightest deviation in dogmatic and moral issues.

It was this unshakable standing up for the truth that kept our faith in pristine purity right up to the 19th century. Further on, unfortunately, the dominance of the modernist spirit, the brainchild of Western Enlightenment, was universally established. And then, from the beginning of the 20th century, the greatest of all heresies, ecumenism, gradually spread, which today has almost completely prevailed, having seized the minds of the representatives of the official Church and gaining unlimited access to church educational institutions.

All of this led to the rejection of Tradition, even the Gospel itself. It led to dogmatic and moral minimalism. Vivid examples of this are the attempts [81] to prove the Orthodox Christianity of the Monophysites Dioscorus [82] and Severus [83] and declaring that the Catholic Church is a sister church. In moral life, it is a justification of premarital relations and even a discussion about the possibility of recognizing same-sex marriage.

6. The Venerable Symeon the New Theologian and St. Mark of Ephesus

And finally, we give the opinions of the Venerable Simeon the New Theologian [84] and St. Mark of Ephesus [85] on this topic.

Addressing future monks, the Venerable Simeon advises them to be very careful and attentive in choosing an elder who can be their teacher, whom they will obey and whose will they will submit to. For there is a high probability of meeting an inexperienced and passionate mentor, and, instead of learning angelic living, they will be taught the ways of the devil, “for good teachers have good lessons and bad teachers have bad lessons; bad fruit always grows from bad seeds." 

With tears and many pleas, we should ask the Lord to send us an impassive and holy spiritual leader. But if we find such a person (which is very difficult), it seems to us that each of us needs to carefully examine the Holy Scriptures and the creations of the Holy Fathers, so that, having them as a foundation, we can judge what the spiritual father teaches and does, and how he acts in certain situations. And then we will only be obedient to that which is in agreement with Scripture; that which turns out to be contrary to it should be dismissed as false and alien. This is absolutely necessary and even urgent, because in our time there have been many deluded people and false teachers.

“With prayers and tears, implore God to send you a passionless and holy leader. Search the Divine Scriptures themselves, and especially the active scriptures of the holy fathers, so that comparing them with what your teacher and abbot teach, you can, as in a mirror, see how much they agree among themselves, and then you may accept and agree with that which agrees with the Divine Scriptures, and bring it to heart, while you should put aside that which does not agree with the Scriptures, judging what is good, that you may not be seduced. For you know that in these days there are many deceivers and false teachers. ”

Previously, St. John Climacus [86] gave the same instruction to  novices, in order to avoid the danger of obedience to an evil elder:

“Test this helmsman, so that we may not receive a simple rower instead of the helmsman, a sick person instead of a doctor, a passionate person instead of one who is free from passions, or the abyss instead of the harbor,  and thus we may not readily fall into perdition. "

Thus, the saints are united in the opinion that obedience should not be given without thought, but with discernment; one should not obey all spiritual mentors, but only the saints and those who are dispassionate, and even then, after an attentive test of the words and deeds of the spiritual father, based on patristic teaching...

In one of his epistles, the holy apostle Paul instructs us:

“Brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we command you to depart from every brother who acts disorderly, and not according to the tradition that you received from us” (2 Thess. 3:6).

Therefore, for example, Abba Pimen ordered one ascetic to immediately stop studying with his elder, since continually living together with him would be harmful for the monk's soul, because his spiritual father had violated the morals of the Church Tradition.

The compiler of the life of the Venerable Symeon and his closest disciple, Saint Nikitas Stithatos [87], reports one interesting detail for us. In order to completely surrender to the Divine Hesychia — silence and contemplation, the Venerable Symeon transferred the spiritual leadership of kinovia [88] to his associate Arseny and encouraged the monks to remain obedient to the new abbot, bearing in mind the commandment of the holy Apostle Paul: “Obey your teachers and be humble” (Heb.13:17). But at the same time, the saint clarifies that such obedience should be with reasoning, and not at all unquestioning or absolute:

“And in everything that does not contradict the commandment of God, the apostolic decrees and rules, you must in every way obey him and submit to him as to the Lord. But in everything that threatens the Gospel and the laws of the Church, one should not obey his instructions and commands, nor even an angel, if he suddenly came down from heaven, preaching to you something other than what the visionaries of the Word preached (see: Gal.1:8)".

A necessary condition for submission and obedience to any elder is his spirituality. Only if we are convinced that our mentor is in communion with the Holy Spirit should we be in unquestioning obedience to him. Otherwise, we do not obey God, but man, and become not servants of God, but slaves of people.

Those spiritual fathers who, not being vessels of the Holy Spirit, pretend to be saints, lead many to perdition. In vain will some recall the Venerable Zacharias or Acacius, who were obedient to inexperienced elders. After all, they achieved salvation only due to the fact that they worked according to the advice of other spiritual fathers, and therefore could remain in external obedience to those “insufficient” elders. However, this is an extraordinary case...

Saint Mark of Ephesus went down in history as a fearless confessor, a fighter for the purity of Orthodox teachings and a fierce opponent of Catholicism, as an antipapist (as St. Athanasius of Paris calls him in his book of the same name [89]). And hardly anyone would dare to reproach him for insubmission and disobedience because he was the only one of the whole bishopric of Constantinople who did not obey the decisions of the Ferraro-Florentine Uniate Council [90] and preserved the truth of Orthodoxy, despite all the humiliations and insults from the Catholics and Latin Orthodox (which are nothing more than the likeness of the current ecumenists).

Nevertheless, “intelligent” ecumenists try to distort the face of St. Mark and distort historical reality itself,  in order to justify their close and constant contacts with the Catholics and their loyal attitude towards the pope, they boldly and illegally appeal to the saint, referring to what St. Mark said, addressing the Roman pontiff with a welcoming speech at the very beginning of the council. 

Indeed, the Metropolitan of Ephesus, like the whole Orthodox delegation, still had good hope that they would nevertheless be able to convince the Catholics to publicly renounce their errors and accept the truth of the Orthodox faith. Therefore, with great reasoning and, undoubtedly, oikonomia for the sake of himself, he really spoke very courteously and meekly at the opening of the council in order to honor and respect the pope and, if possible, attract the lost sheep.

But during the long meetings of the council, Saint Mark became convinced that the Catholics, despite the many theological arguments given by him, were completely embroiled in heresy and persistent in their delusions. He saw that egoism, complacency and arrogance reigned supreme. He was convinced of the secular way of thinking of the Latins, their worldly mentality and lust for power. And after that, the saint, despite the fact that the work of the council was still ongoing, resolutely declared to the Orthodox delegation, “that the Latins are not only schismatics, but also heretics. And our Church kept silent about this, due to the fact that their tribe is great and stronger than ours."

In response to this, some said: "The difference between us and the Latins is small, and if we want, may easily be corrected."

When the saint noticed that the difference was actually quite big, they answered him: “This is not heresy, and you cannot call it heresy, for none of the educated and holy men have called it heresy”.

And then St. Mark categorically uttered:

“This is a heresy, and our predecessors also thought so, but they did not want to expose the Latins as heretics, waiting for their conversion and caring for the preservation of love; and if you want, I will show you that they considered them heretics. " 

The confessor asserted the same thing in one of his epistles:

“We turned away from them, as from heretics, and therefore disassociated ourselves from them ... It is clear that they are heretics, and we cut them off as heretics.”

Thus, Catholicism is a heresy - this is the unanimous assessment of the holy fathers and teachers of the Church since the time of St. Photius [91]. Therefore, the continuation and immutability of this unanimous patristic position - the so-called consensus of the fathers (consensus Patrum) [92] - is a cause of great damage and considerable harm to the current hierarchs (and even the most senior ones) who claim that Catholicism is not heresy at all, but the Catholic Church is not just a church, but also a "sister." (This happens either because of ignorance, which, however, is healed by knowledge, or by conviction and as a result of Latin wisdom - and then this state is completely hopeless and irreparable.)

By this they derogate the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, for the undeniable fact is called into question that it alone is the Church of Christ in which the salvation of believers is possible, and also the eternal boundaries that our fathers laid down are destroyed.

Upon the return of the delegation from Florence and the enthusiastic meeting of St. Mark with the faithful of Constantinople, the Latin Orthodox (prototypes of the current ecumenists) sent him into exile on the island of Lemnos [93] (1440–1441), so as not to have in the person of the saint a barrier for the implementation of the decisions of the Uniate robber council, and so that his words would not be publicly proclaimed.

What did St. Mark do in this situation? Maybe he obeyed the Latin-minded Patriarch Mitrophan [94] and his successor Gregory [95] and continued to remember them at the service so that he would not be considered disobedient or the organizer of a schism [96]? (Those who neglect the Gospel and patristic truth and canonical rigor and prefer to please men rather than God would advise him to do just that.)

On the contrary, the archpastor, wise in divine and unshakable convictions, not only broke communion with the Latin people, but shortly before his blessed death, already on his deathbed, ordered that none of the heretical bishops or clergy and those who were in communion with them be at his burial, funeral services or memorial services. Thus, he wanted to save the believing people from any scandal or seduction, because, otherwise, it might seem from the side that behind the scenes, perhaps, by stealth, Saint Mark nevertheless recognized communion with the patriarch and his ilk.

The saint resolutely declared that he did not want to have anything in common with the Latin-minded either in this life or after his death, because he was convinced that the more he moved away from the patriarch and his ilk, the closer he came to God and His saints. In his dying words, Saint Mark says that all communication with the Latinists (read, ecumenists) should be broken until the Lord himself rules and makes peace in His Church:

“I will tell you about the patriarch, [97] so that he won’t think, perhaps, to show me some honor in burying my humble body or in funeral services for me, or to send one of his bishops, or clergy, or even any of who are in communion with him in order to take part in prayer or to join clergymen from our inheritance. They are not invited to attend these services, so that they may not think that I, perhaps, secretly commemorated him."

"And so that my muteness would not give anyone who does not know my views good reason to suspect some kind of agreement, I say and testify to the many worthy men that I absolutely and in no way want and do not accept communion with him or those who are with him, neither during my life nor after my death, as I do not accept either the former union, or the Latin dogmas, which he himself and his like-minded people accepted, and for the sake of which he took this presidency, with the goal of overthrowing the right dogmas of the Church."

"I am absolutely sure that as far as I stand from him and the like, I am so closer to God and all saints; and as far as I separate myself from them, I am thus far in unity with the truth and with the holy fathers, theologians of the Church; and I am also convinced that those who classify themselves with them [98] are far removed from the truth and the blessed teachers of the Church."

"And therefore I say: as during my whole life I have been separated from them, so during my departure, and even after my death, I turn away from communion and union with them, and swear oaths that none (of them) come closer neither to my burial, nor to memorial services for me, and also (and in relation) to someone else from our inheritance, with the aim of trying to join and serve in our (divine services), for this means to mix that which cannot be mixed; but it is fitting for them to be completely separated from us until God grants the correction and peace of His Church.”

Chapter 5

Do We Have the Right to Speak? 

At present, unfortunately, the state of affairs in the Church is as follows: the hierarchy makes those who firmly adhere to Church Tradition and Orthodox traditions remain silent so that the arguments of ecumenists and renovationists will triumph completely; that the people remain unenlightened, without any kind of guidance; so that there is no genuine dialogue, exchange of opinions and arguments, thanks to which the truth would immediately be revealed.

Church authorities do not even accept conferences organized by us in the university environment; they believe that they cannot be carried out without a blessing, because they secretly desire for us to show obedience and stop preaching and witnessing the word of truth, which has always irritated and continues to annoy those who do not want to follow it.

But if we are to be guided by such logic, then, probably, in order for Christ to speak with the people, it was necessary for Him to have the permission of Annas and Caiaphas, the scribes and Pharisees? Perhaps he and his disciples should be obedient to the high priests? After all, the bishops forbade the apostles to preach Christ, as today they forbid many to speak of holy Orthodoxy: “They ordered them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18).

In the history of the Church, heretical patriarchs and hierarchs repeatedly sent confessors of faith to prison and exile, so that only their “theological” opinion could prevail.

So, St. Gregory the Theologian was forced to serve in the small house church of St. Anastasia, while the rest of the churches of Constantinople were in the hands of the Arians - bishops and clergy who preached dishonesty in them. Well, should St. Gregory also have to take permission to pronounce his wonderful theological words and to return Orthodox teaching to Constantinople captured by the Arians?

Don't you think that in our days the Church has been filled with false teachers who watch over everything? That today in churches you rarely hear the Orthodox word — genuine — without any impurities and introductions from the outside? That the ecumenical heretics are now working in the Church?

And yet, it turns out that we must take permission or a blessing from them in order to free the Church from ecumenical captivity?

Orthodoxy is the one true faith that preaches and proclaims the true name of Christ. All other religions, as the holy martyr Cosmas of Aetola said [99], are false teachings, errors and heresies. But they are the ones that are allowed today. All the conditions are created in order to do their dirty work through all kinds of mass media, print media and television - to wage a struggle against the Gospel truth and holy Orthodoxy.

For those who are trying to destroy, forget, and prohibit the Orthodox teaching, we wish to use the words with which the holy apostles once addressed the Jewish bishops, who apparently continue to exist in our days, but in a slightly different guise: “We must obey God rather than men”(Acts 5: 27–29)!


[1] FUA - the largest university in the Balkans, founded in 1924, began to function since 1926; totals seven faculties, about 95 thousand students study in it; The theological faculty was opened in 1942.

[2] Thassos is an island in the northern Aegean off the coast of Thrace.

[3] Panayot Christou (1917–1996) - professor at Thessaloniki University, doctor of theology; in 1966-1967 was Minister of Northern Greece, in 1973-1974. - Minister of Education; in 1966–1989 - Director of the Patriarchal Institute of Patriotic Studies; in 1989-1994; - Director of the Center for Theological and Patriotic Studies.

[4] St. Gennady II Scholarius (1405– after 1472) - Patriarch of Constantinople (1453-1460). He was born in Constantinople and was baptized with the name George. He received a classical education. He taught logic and physics in Constantinople, then served as a judge and imperial secretary; In this capacity, in the retinue of Emperor John VIII (1425–1448) and Patriarch Joseph II (1416–1439), he went to the Ferraro-Florentine Cathedral (1438–1439), speaking at it with the support of the union. But on his return, he joined the main enemy of the union - St. Mark of Ephesus (1392 / 93–1444 / 45), his spiritual father, after whose death he became a fighter with the unity and wrote a number of polemical compositions. Under Emperor Constantine XI (1449–1453), he tonsured monks and lived in the Kharsianite monastery. Condemned the renewal of the union in 1452. After the fall of Constantinople and the death of Patriarch Athanasius II (1450–1453), he was elected the new Primate of the Church and tried in every possible way to alleviate the fate of the subjects. Sultan Mehmed (Magomed) II Fatih (Conqueror) (1444 and 1451-1481) approved his election, providing complete independence in church and civil affairs - he was in charge of the entire Orthodox population of the Ottoman Empire; at the same time, he was entrusted with all responsibility for the behavior of Christians. The agreement reached by him with Sultan Mehmed determined the relations of the Church with the Muslim authorities until 1923. The Sultan highly valued the saint, more than once talked with him on religious topics; at the request of Mehmed, he composed the Confession, which outlines Christian doctrine; it was of great importance in the East, was reprinted many times and was translated into many languages, including Turkish and Arabic. At the end of his life he retired to the monastery of Prodrom near Serra, where he rested and was buried.

[5] The Vlatadov Monastery (Vlatadon) was founded in 1355 by the Vlatal brothers - Dorotheus and Mark, monks from Crete, disciples of St. Gregory Palamas (l296 – l359), who slept in this monastery; It is stavropegic and falls under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople; Viceroy Panteleimon, Metropolitan of Tyrol and Serenti. According to legend, on the square of the present monastery church, in its southern part, there is a place from which the holy apostle Paul preached († 67). According to another version, the monastery was founded in that place near the city walls, where the apostle once hurriedly left the city, persecuted by his fellow tribesmen.

[6] The Church of Constantinople (Ecumenical Patriarchate), traces its apostolic succession from the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called († c. 37), who made the apostle of the seventy Stachius (38–54) bishop of Byzantium. Already in 381, the Second Ecumenical Council assigned it the second place after the Roman Church in the diptych of the Churches. And the IV Ecumenical Council (451) recognized it as equal with the Roman Church. With the fall of Rome in 1054, the Church of Constantinople began to take first place in the diptych. After the VII century. Egypt, Palestine and Syria were conquered by the Persians, and then, finally, by the Arabs, and these areas fell under the rule of Islam, the only patriarchal chair in the Empire remained Constantinople, and therefore it became known as the "Ecumenical", because the universe - ecumenical - was what they called the empire. Despite the fact that since the end of the V century the title "Ecumenical" is found in relation to the primates of the Church of Constantinople, officially the patriarchs held the title starting with Herman II (1222–1240). Since 1991, the 232nd Primate is His Holiness Bartholomew (Archondonis); the residence of the patriarchs (since 1601) is located in the Fanar district (Constantinople). The canonical territory is Turkey, part of Greece (Crete and some of the Dodecanese islands), as well as dioceses in Western Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Athos. The Finnish Autonomous Church also belongs to its jurisdiction.

[7] The monastery of the Great Martyr Anastasia was founded in the 9th century in the area where, according to some reports, Saint Anastasia spent the last years of her life before her martyrdom († c. 304); the monastery is stavropegic and belongs to the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople; hegumen - Apostolos, Metropolitan of Miletus. Note that in Greek the great martyr Anastasia is literally referred to as liberating from the spell - she is revered as a healing of bodily and mental illness, as well as relieving from the effects of poisons and potions, various drugs, including witchcraft and witchcraft. The saint prays for healings, as well as for deliverance from witchcraft.

[8] Thessalonica (in the old days also Solun, and now Thessalonica, from Turkish. Selanik) - the main city of Northern Greece, embracing parts of ancient Macedonia and Thrace; It lies in the north-eastern part of the Gulf of Aegean Sea and is the second largest and most important after the capital. According to one version, the city was founded around 315 B.C. on the site of more ancient settlements - Term - by the Macedonian king Kassandrom (317–298) [son of Antipater († 319), one of the dialects of Alexander the Great (356–323) ], who named the city in honor of his wife Thessaloniki, half-sister of Alexander, daughter of Philip II (382–336), named by his father in honor of the victory over the Thessalians neighbors, one of the Greek tribes (literally the name Thessalonica means “victory over Thessalonians”). During the second apostolic voyage in the summer of 50, the Apostle Paul († 67) preached in Thessalonica and founded the community to which he wrote two Epistles to the Thessalonians - the earliest written book of the New Testament (early 50s). During the tetrarchy, Thessalonica becomes the residence of co-ruler and son-in-law of Diocletian (284–305, (313) - Galerian (292–305 - Caesar, 305–311 - emperor), who is the first in the Empire to issue an edict on religious freedom (311). Saint Great Martyr Dimitri († c. 306), saints Equal to the Apostles Cyril and Methodius (IX c.) were born, the great theologians Gregory Palamas (XIV c.), Nicholas Kavasila (XIV c.), exegete Simeon of Thessalonica (XV c.) ), the canonist hieromonk Matthew Vlastar (XIV century) worked there. From 1430 to 1912 the city was in the hands of the Turks. Thessalonica is divided into dioceses: 1) Thessalonica, 2) Stavrupol and Naples, and 3) New Kriniy and Kalamaria. [Macedonia (Ematia) - a state that existed since the V century. BC R. in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula. In the war with Rome, the last Macedonian king Perseus was defeated at the Battle of Pidne (168), and Macedonia was divided into four districts, and in 148 turned into a Roman province. Until the fifth century B.C., the capital of Macedonia was Egi (now Vergina), and then Pella - the birthplace of Alexander the Great. As a result of the Balkan Wars (1912–1913), Macedonia was divided between Serbia (Vardar Macedonia), Greece (Aegean Macedonia) and Bulgaria (Pirin Territory). Thrace is a region in northeastern Greece that borders Turkey and Bulgaria and is the southwestern part of historical Thrace, the northwestern part of which belongs to Bulgaria, and the eastern part to Turkey].

[9] Constantinople (Old Russian and Slav. - Tsargrad) - the capital of the Byzantine Empire. It was founded on November 8, 324 (consecrated on May 11, 330) on the European shore of the Sea of ​​Marmara, near the Golden Horn of the Bosphorus Strait, on the site of the megarian colony of Byzantium by Saint Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine I (306–337), who, according to legend, personally outlined with his spear the borders of the future city in the earth. The transfer of the capital from Rome (founded in 753 BC by R.H. Romulus) caused the rapid growth of the city, which was initially called the New Rome (Nova Roma). For greater resemblance to Rome, seven hills were found in the city. In 1204–1261 the city was the capital of the Latin Empire. Since the end of the XIV century. Turks have repeatedly tried to take possession of it. After a long siege on Tuesday, May 29, 1453, Constantinople fell, becoming until 1923 the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Since 395, this part of the empire was called the Eastern Roman Empire or simply the Empire (especially after the fall of Rome in 476), and in 1562, Jerome Wolf (J.Wolf) from Göttingen, who published texts of Byzantine historians (Corpus Byzantinae Historiae) , first used the new term - Byzantium.

[10] In Greece, there were two major church centers - Thessalonica and Corinth, located in the jurisdiction of Rome. Since the time of Diocletian (284–305), Greece with the nearest islands has been part of the Eastern Illyric (Illyria) prefecture, which since 364 belonged to Rome. Since the final division of the empire under Theodosius the Great (379–395), Illyric retreated to the Eastern Empire, but remained in church subordination to Rome. The capital of the prefecture was Thessalonica (from the end of the 4th century). Therefore, the Bishop of Thessalonica began to seek power over other bishops of Greece. For this, already in 381, the Bishop of Thessalonica Aholius established direct relations with Pope Damas (366–384) and acted as his vicar; and in 385, Pope Siricius (384–398) gave another Bishop of Anisios of Thessalonica the right to affirm all hierarchs in East Illyric. This actually established the patriarchy in the Balkans, whose head - the bishop of Thessalonica - was subordinate to the pope. This power, called papal vicarism in Illyric, was confirmed by Pope Innocent I (402–417), and then by Boniface I (418–422). Evidence of the special role of the Bishop of Thessalonica is the fact that since that time he has been holding the title of “Most Holy”, which is inherent only to the Ecumenical Patriarch. In 421, Emperor Theodosius II (408–450) transferred Thessalonica to the jurisdiction of Constantinople; however, the pope's protests forced him to reverse his decision. Thus, the Roman pontiffs retained their jurisdiction in Thessalonica until the 8th century, until Emperor Leo II (717–741), due to support by Pope Gregory III (731–741) of the venerated icon veneration, did not take away Eastern Illyric from them, subjecting it to the Ecumenical to Patriarch Anastasius (730–754) and abolishing the papal Thessalonica vicariate (c. 732). Finally, Greece becomes part of the Church of Constantinople in 880. Politically, Hellas made up the bulk of the Byzantine Empire, and in the church - the main part of the Ecumenical throne. The time of Latin domination was difficult (1204–1261). Catholic bishops were placed in Corinth, Athens, and other important cities, subordinate to the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. Especially difficult was the position of the islanders. More than others, under the rule of Catholics were Crete (until 1669) and Corfu (until 1799). Catholic domination was replaced by Turkish rule in the 14th – 15th centuries. The dioceses of Greece at that time were subordinate to the Patriarch of Constantinople. In 1833, after Greece gained independence (1830), for political reasons, the autocephaly of the Church of Greece was uncanonically proclaimed. Only in 1850 the Church of Constantinople granted her canonical autocephaly. The Church of Greece is the only Local Church led by the Synod and not the Primate: the Archbishop of Athens is only the chairman of the Synod, 12 members of which are elected annually, and all the bishops of the Church of Greece (88 hierarchs, 11 of them titular and vicar) with a certain periodically participate in the work of the Synod, the thirteenth member of which is the Archbishop of Athens. Of the 80 dioceses of the Greek Church, 36 are spiritually subordinate to the Ecumenical Patriarch - these are the metropolises in northern and island Greece located in the so-called New Lands that were freed from the Turks after the Greek Church gained autocephaly.

[11] Union of Balamand. On June 17–24, 1993, at the theological faculty of the University of Balamand (an area near Tripoli, in northern Lebanon), the 7th plenary meeting of the Joint International Commission on Theological Dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox representatives of the Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Russia, Romania, Cyprus, Albania, Poland, as well as France. The Commission dealt with theoretical and practical issues that arose as a result of the activities of the Uniate organizations, which became more active in Central and Eastern Europe. The result of the work was a document, a draft of which was developed by the coordination commission as far back as 1991: “Union - the old method of unification and the current search for full communication”. Although the union in it, as a model of unification that has receded into the past, is rejected, the right to its continued existence is recognized; Orthodox ecclesiology is reinterpreted, since the Roman Catholic Church is recognized as sisterly, and its sacraments are recognized as valid and gracious. Many argue that we are talking about the conclusion of a new, Balamandic union.

[12] His Beatitude Christodoulos (Paraskevaidis) from April 28, 1998 to January 28, 2008 was the Archbishop of Athens and All Hellas, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church. The 21st Primate of the Church today is His Beatitude Archbishop Jerome (Lapis), the former Metropolitan of Thebes and Levadia.

[13] The Dimitriad and Almiros metropolis is located in Thessaly (a region in the center of the eastern part of continental Greece), the department is the city of Volos, the administrative center of the prefecture of Magnesia.

[14] The ecumenical movement finally took shape at the First General Assembly of Churches in Amsterdam (1948), where the World Council of Churches (WCC) was created - a body uniting and coordinating the activities of religious organizations participating in the ecumenical movement - there are about 300 of them, they are mainly Protestant         (Catholics do not participate in the WCC). All Local Orthodox Churches also participate in the activities of the WCC, with the exception of the Georgian (withdrew from the WCC on 05/19/1997) and the Bulgarian (terminated on 09/04/1998).

[15] Syncretism is an unprincipled and non-methodological mixture, combination, inorganic fusion and interpenetration of heterogeneous elements, for example, various cults and religious systems, doctrinal and religious positions, the unification of elements of different religions, religious representations of different peoples in one doctrine. Syncretism is close to eclecticism; the latter tries to isolate principles from various systems and organically link them into a single whole, while syncretism unites diverse principles, without giving them a true unification. This was manifested in Alexandrian philosophy, among Philo of Alexandria, among Gnostics and others who tried to combine Greek philosophy with Eastern teachings. Attempts to unite heterogeneous religious systems usually have the following directions: first, the combination of incompatible teachings (for example, atheism and theism, Christianity and Buddhism); secondly, combining various teachings by cutting off opposing ideas (or giving them a special meaning consistent with other teachings); and, finally, the rise above the teachings, characteristic of occult syncretism (all religions and teachings are declared to have part of the truth or private truth, the completeness is assigned to that doctrine, under the auspices of which the unification of beliefs is supposed).

[16] The ecumenical movement, otherwise known as ecumenism (from the Greek ecumenical - inhabited world, the Universe), is the movement of Christian confessions to unity in faith, to the elimination of disunity between them and the unity of church forces on an international scale. It arose on the initiative of the Protestant churches of the United States and Western Europe in the early twentieth century. The declared goals of the ecumenical movement are to strengthen the influence of religion and develop a common Christian social program suitable for believers living in countries with different social systems, as well as cooperation with Christians of various faiths in the social sphere, in various humanitarian programs. According to another opinion, ecumenism is a religious movement that aims at uniting through compromises, mutual concessions of all existing religious movements, first Christian, and then all others, into a single, ecumenical church. Due to the fact that ecumenism is understood differently in the Protestant world, and much of what the WCC adopted does not correspond to the teachings of the Church, Orthodox representatives prefer not to talk about participation in the ecumenical movement, but about a multilateral inter-Christian theological dialogue - in the hope to return the lost sheep to the fold of the Church. However, the Moscow meeting of the heads and representatives of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches back in 1948 gave a negative assessment of the ecumenical movement as a whole and found it inappropriate to participate in the Russian Orthodox Church.

[17] The visit of the pontiff to Greece took place on May 4, 2001.

[18] In addition to Greece, the late Pope John Paul II also visited other Orthodox countries - Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.

[19] Sodom and Gomorrah (Sedom and Amora) - cities that have become a symbol of depravity and immorality, as well as Divine retribution; Sodom is associated, in particular, with the sin of sodomy; however, the depravity of the inhabitants and mistreatment of the aliens differed in both of these cities. According to the book of Genesis (Genesis 19, 24–28), the Lord rained sulfur and fire on the plain cities of Sodom and Gomorrah after the righteous Abraham could not find even ten righteous in Sodom. In addition to these cities, Adma (Adam), Sevoyim (Tsevoyim), and, apparently, Sigor, were exterminated. The exact location of these cities remains unknown, suggesting that they rest at the bottom of the southern part of the Dead Sea - the only sea where there is no life.

[20] Corinth is a city and port in Greece, in the north-east of the Peloponnese peninsula, on the Isthmian Isthmus (at the Corinth Canal). According to mythology, the founder of the city was Sisyphus (Sisyphus), subsequently ordered by the gods to eternally roll a huge stone onto the mountain, which, having barely reached the top, rolled down each time (hence the expression “Sisyphus labor”). The Holy Apostle Paul († 67) preached in Corinth, having been in the city for a year and a half; it is from here in the early 50's that he sent two letters to the Thessalonians.

[21] St. Simeon of Thessalonica († c. 1429) - Byzantine theologian and church writer, Archbishop of Thessalonica (after 1410). He led the defense of the city from the Turkish invaders (Thessalonica surrendered during the second attack only after his death, in 1430). He is known as the author of a number of polemical writings, as well as works detailing and symbolically interpreting all aspects of Orthodox worship and church life, explaining the purpose and meaning of various church rites and sacred objects.

[22] Nicolaism is a heresy of the apostolic age, in relation to which Christ, through the holy Apostle John († c. 104), has twice uttered that He hates the teaching of the Nicolaitans and their work (Rev. 2, 6; 15). There is no general opinion as to who Nicholas was and what his teaching was. Some in his name find something that could somehow clarify the essence of heresy, believing that Nicholas is a symbolic name. Others, such as Hierarchs Irenaeus of Lyons (140–202) and Hippolytus of Rome († 235), attribute its origin to Nicholas, an alien of Antioch, converted from the Gentiles, to one of the seven deacons mentioned in the Acts of the Holy Apostles (Acts 6, 5), who subsequently distorted the teaching of Christ, becoming the founder of heresy. But there are those (e.g., the hierarchs Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50 - c. 107) and Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 - up to 250), as well as Eusebius of Kessaria (260 - c. 340)) who claim that heretics hiding behind his name, they perverted the meaning of Nicholas' words: “the flesh must be put to death,” meaning that the body must be suppressed, trampling passions and getting rid of carnal lusts; that follows, realizing lust, humble the flesh. Considering matter to be evil, the Nicolaitans taught about the need to mortify the flesh and elevate the spirit above matter, defeating sensuality in an unusual way - through the satisfaction of passions, for all of them, as the Nicolaitans believed, even the most rude and low, are natural and useful. According to the teachings of  Nicholas, only a sinner can receive grace from God, therefore, to receive greater grace, one should sin more. This heresy arose as a result of opposing Jewish influence - its adherents denied, in particular, the restrictions of the Apostolic Council (49) regarding idolatry and fornication, thereby preaching a compromise with paganism. Nicolaism is considered the very first heresy preceding all Gnostic heresies. Some believe that the concept of Nicolaism refers to the carnal sinfulness of clergy.

[23] The Holy Martyr Ignatius of Antioch, the God-Bearer (c. 50 - c. 107) is one of the apostolic men. Born a Syrian; his name Nurono meant "fiery" (Ignatius - from Latin. ignis - fire). It is believed that he was the child whom the Lord placed among the people and said that if we are not like children, then we will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18, 1-14). This legend is first encountered by the Monk Simeon Metaphrastes († c. 960). Saint Gregory the Dialogist (590–604) claims that the holy martyr was one of the disciples of the Apostle Peter († 64/67), other fathers believed that he was in the circle of the apostles Paul († 64/67) and John († c. 104). The council of all the apostles was appointed after the Holy Entry (57–86), the successor of the apostle Peter, bishop of Antioch of Syria (according to another version, he was ordained by the apostle Peter himself). His writings are attributed to the monuments of early Christian writing - fourteen letters reached us, in some of them he extols the episcopal dignity and demands unquestioning obedience to the bishop.

[24] Archpriest George Metallinos is a professor of the theological faculty of the University of Athens, a well-known modern theologian and an outstanding church writer.

[25] Attica is a prefecture on the southeastern tip of Central Greece, located on the peninsula of the same name, which extends deep into the Aegean Sea and ends at Cape Sounius. In Attica is the capital of Greece, Athens.

[26] Arius (260– c. 336) - presbyter in Alexandria, who taught that Christ is not consubstantial with God the Father, but subservient to him and created by him before all things; having made Him God, the Father, through Him, created everything that exists, but the Son is less than the Father in Divinity, properties and glory, and the Holy Spirit is less than the Son, who created him as an instrument for creating the world. The doctrine of Arius was first formulated by him in 318 during disputes with the Archbishop Alexander of Alexandria (312–326). Emperors Constantius II (337–361) and, especially, Valens (364–378) openly patronized the Arians. Only during the reign of St. Theodosius I the Great (379–395) was Arianism condemned as heresy by the Ecumenical Councils — I of Nicene (325) and II of Constantinople (381), and Arius himself was excommunicated and exiled. In Nicaea, the Creed was adopted with the anti-Arian confession of the Son as “from the Father born, uncreated, consubstantial (omousios) to the Father”, thus omusianism (Christ consubstantial with God the Father) triumphed - a teaching opposite to Arianism, which affirmed omiusianism (resident). Among some peoples (Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Burgundians, Vandals and Lombards), Arianism persisted until the VI – VII centuries because of the simplicity and closeness to the concepts of the Gentiles, since the trinity of the Divine, in fact, replaced the hierarchy of polytheism (the Son is less than the Father, and the Holy Spirit is less than the Son).

[27] Alexandria (Arabic: Al-Iskandaria) - a city in northern Egypt, in the western part of the Nile Delta, founded by Alexander the Great (332–331 BC); during the time of the Ptolemies (330–305 BC) - the capital of Egypt and the center of Hellenistic culture, the focus of famous scientists and writers of the whole era (Alexandria). Here the translation of the Old Testament into Greek was created - the Septuagint (271 BC). The Alexandria Library, which stored about 500 thousand scrolls, burned down in the 1st century. BC R. At the northern tip of about. Faros (now an inseparable part of the mainland) was the famous Alexandria lighthouse (110 m). In 646, the Arabs took possession of the city. The apostle Peter († 64/67) ordained the bishop of the Apostle Mark († 62) for the Alexandria Church, who suffered martyrdom here.

[28] Cappadocia is a region located in central Anatolia (the ancient name of Asia Minor dating back to the 10th century was first used by the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus (945–959)). [Asia Minor is the westernmost peninsula of Asia, bounded in the north by the Black and Marmara Seas, the Straits of Constantinople and the Dardanelles, in the south by the Mediterranean, in the west by the Aegean Sea, and in the east by Armenia. The name Asia Minor appeared at the beginning of the 5th century. according to R. Kh.]. It was called Cappadocia in the fourth century. Saints Basil the Great (330–378), Gregory of Nyssa (335–394) (they were siblings), Gregory the Theologian (300–391) (Nazianzen; friend of St. Basil) and Amphilochius of Iconium (340–400) (cousin of St. Gregory ) not only because they all came from Cappadocia and were close friends and the episcopal ministry took place in this area, but also because of the commonality in their teaching, which occupied a conciliatory position between the schools of Antioch and Alexandria, since, adhering to the philosophy of Plato , they were not alien to Aristotelian views. Using the exact concepts of the Aristotelian school, they not only interpreted and revealed church doctrine (mainly triadology), but also gave it a form and precise expression, translating it into the language of philosophical concepts, which primarily affected terminology. The Antiochian theological school was founded in Syria in the late III - early IV centuries. Tradition traces it to the apostle Paul, but presbyter Dorotheus is considered the founder; one of its founders was the holy martyr Presbyter Lucian († 311), whose disciples were Bishops Eusebius of Nicomedia, Leontius of Antioch, and others. The Alexandrian theological school arose in 180, but some attribute its beginning to the apologist Athenagoras or even to the apostle Mark († 62 ) Its founder was the catechet Panten († c. 200), the most prominent representatives were: in the III century. - Receiver of Pantena St. Clement of Alexandria and Origen; in the 4th century - Saint Athanasius the Great, in the 5th century - St. Cyril. In contrast to the idealistic and speculative path that the Alexandrians followed in the study of Scripture, interpreting it allegorically, the Antiochians adhered to its literal meaning, trying to resort to historical criticism. In philosophy, they adjoined Aristotle, while the Alexandrians adhered to the teachings of Plato. In the question of the relation of the Divine and human natures in the person of the Savior, they opposed the Alexandrians, who resolved it in the sense of enriching the human nature of Christ and uniting natures, they explained the concept of complete unification. The Antiochians, however, stood for a strict distinction between the two natures, even when they were united in one person and in Christ they saw a man connected with God's Word (Logos) into one inseparable unity, a man whom the word had chosen as its instrument and temple, but which had developed morally in a purely human way as expressed in the struggle against temptations and in His sufferings and death. The difference in their approaches to the Christological problem can be expressed as follows: the Antiochians spoke about the Word united with humanity, the Alexandrians - about the Word embodied; that is, the former never overlooked the fullness of the human nature of Christ, while the latter spoke primarily of the divinity of the Word made flesh. And therefore, if some Alexandrians came to Monophysitism, then the heresyarchs Arius (IV c.) And Nestorius (V c.) came out of the school of Antioch, who was reproached for the fact that he allowed two persons in one Christ. The main representatives of the school of Antioch: in the IV century. Bishops Theodore of Heracles, Eusebius of Emesses, Hierarchs Cyril of Jerusalem and Eustathius, Ephraim, Deacon of Edes, Diodorus of Tarsus; in the V century the disciples of Diodorus - St. John Chrysostom, Meletius of Antioch and Theodore of Mopsuesta with the disciples - Theodorite of Cyrus and Nestorius, Iva of Edes, Vasily Selevsky. Some of its representatives were canonized after death (Hierarchs Eustathius and John Chrysostom); Someone was posthumously anathematized (Theodore of Mopsuestia), some of the writings were condemned (Theodoritus of Cyrus, Iva of Edesa), still others were condemned as heretics during their lifetime (Diodorus of Tarsus, Nestorius). However, saints, erring people and heretics also came out of the walls of the Alexandrian school. Thus, the bishops Clement, Athanasius and Cyril were counted as saints. Three centuries after his death, Origen was convicted at the V Ecumenical Council (553). And Apollinaris of Laodicea (IV c.) and Eutyches (V c.), while still alive, were convicted of heresy.

[29] Nestorius (after 381– c. 450/2) was Patriarch of Constantinople (428–431). In Christological debates, emphasizing the human nature of Christ, he called the Mother of God "the Mother of Christ" and even the "Mother of Man", as the one who gave birth to the man Jesus, with whom the Word of God was united, staying with him in a special moral or relative combination; he was only the abode of the Divine, through the influx of the Holy Spirit becoming Christ, that is, the Anointed. The dogma of the Incarnation was subverted by all this. His views were condemned as heretical at the Third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus (431), and Nestorius himself was excommunicated.

[30] St. Cyril I (375–444) - Patriarch of Alexandria (since 412), one of the Church fathers, creator of the doctrine of the God-man: in the fight against Nestorianism, he formulated the principles of Christology (the doctrine of the Incarnation as a real connection in the person of Christ of two natures - Divine and human, about their relationship - the communication of properties and the method of combination and unity - without mixing, merging, co-dissolving or absorbing). The author of Epistola Synodica with twelve anathemas of Nestorius (428–431), as well as polemical writings against him, which affirm the inseparable union of natures in Christ, starting from the moment of His birth in the world; in these works the term “hypostatic unity” of the two natures was introduced without mixing or separation. Participant of the III Ecumenical Council (431), condemning the heresy of Nestorius and affirming the veneration of the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God.

[31] St. John I (354–407) - Archbishop of Constantinople (398–404), one of the greatest fathers of the Church. For the sermons against luxury that Empress Eudoxia († 404), the wife of Arkady (395–408), took at her own expense, the saint was sent into exile, but the ensuing earthquake prompted the queen to return him to the capital. Sermons against the evils of high society led to a new persecution of the saint (of the six years of the patriarchate, he spent three in exile). Saint John died in exile under the Commands (Abkhazia), on the way to Pitiunt. The transfer of the relics of the saint to Constantinople took place in 438. For his sermons (c. 1000), St. John, starting from the VI century, was called Chrysostom. He left interpretations on many books of scripture and is revered by the Church as a great exegete. He composed the rite of the Liturgy bearing his name, and introduced Cross processions into the Church.

[32] There is a difference between the concept of “conciliar” (catholic) and the concept of “ecumenical”. Collectiveness means the spiritual unity of all members of the earthly Church between themselves and with the Church Triumphant in Heaven led by Christ; universality means that the Church of Christ has a universal distribution, i.e. universal, throughout the universe - “even to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1, 8). The universality of the Church is a component of the unity of the Church. Having spread throughout the world in the form of Local Churches, the holy Church, however, has not lost its unity, its collegiality, because the only foundation for genuine collegiality is truth - Orthodoxy. For the first time the word "Catholic" to refer to the Church is found by the holy martyr Ignatius the God-bearer (c. 50 - c. 107) (Epistle 8 to Smyrna).

[33] Apostasy (Greek falling away, retreat) - in the narrow sense, spiritual apostasy and man’s retreat from God; broadly, the process of mankind's departure from Christian faith and piety, which will precede the arrival of Antichrist; it is apostasy that will end human history. Prophecies about this are contained in the Holy Scriptures (Apocalypse and the so-called "small" Apocalypses (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Lk. 21: 5–36). Despite the fact that before the end of the world the Gospel will be preached to all nations (Matt. 24:14), at His Second Coming, Christ is unlikely to find faith on earth (Luke 18:8).

[34] The Prophet Jeremiah (VII – VI centuries BC) is the second of the four great prophets of the Old Testament, the last prophet of the kingdom of Judea. The basis of the Old Testament book bearing his name is made up of the sermons and sayings of the prophet, recorded by him and his companion Baruch. The peculiarity of this book is the discrepancy between its Hebrew text and the translation of seventy interpreters (Septuagint), which relates to the location of some chapters, as well as the lack of 2700 words in the Masoretic text. The prophet is credited with the authorship of the Lamentation of Jeremiah, as well as the noncanonical Epistle of Jeremiah, a polemical work against idolatry.

[35] St. Gregory Palamas (1296–1359) was Archbishop of Thessalonica. At twenty, retiring to Mount Athos, he began to comprehend the wisdom of the 'smart work', requiring solitude and silence; such a monastic work was called hesychasm (with Greek rest, silence). Opponent of Barlaam and Akindin in the question of the nature of the Tabor light. The Council of Constantinople in 1341 adopted the position of St. Gregory (against the heresy of the monk Barlaam from Calabria, Southern Italy) on distinguishing between the essence of God (beyond and inaccessible) and His energies that permeate the world and are communicated to man; for the feat of fasting and prayer, the Lord illuminates the faithful with the uncreated Light, as He shone on Tabor. The teachings of Barlaam were condemned as heresy, and he, given over to an anathema, withdrew to Italy. However, the Bulgarian monk Gregory Akindin continued the polemic.  Patriarch John XIV of Kaleka (1334–1347), who adhered to heretical opinions, supported the emperor Andronicus III (1328–1341), excommunicated the saint from the Church (1344) and imprisoned him. In 1347, after the death of the patriarch, the saint was released and elevated to the rank of archbishop of Thessalonica. Blanchernay Cathedral (1351) attested to the Orthodox Church’s teaching, which was recognized as the official doctrine of the Church. Nine years after his death, he was canonized at the Council of Constantinople under Hierarch Philotheus Kokkin (1353–1354 and 1364–1376), who wrote his life and made him service. Palamas, like Kokkin, are the birth names of these saints, something similar to modern surnames.

[36] Simony is a term that appeared in the IV century. It comes from the name of Simon the sorcerer, who, as stated in the Acts of the Holy Apostles (Acts 8, 9–24), asked the disciples of Christ to sell him the gift of the knowledge of the Holy Spirit; means bribe-taking of the gracious hierarchical ministry in the Church; this was the name of the practice of buying and selling church offices or clergy, common in the Middle Ages in Western Europe.

[37] The Venerable Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (1749–1809) was an enlightened monk on Athos. In 1777 he participated in the preparation for the publication of the Philokalia (Love of the Beautiful), a collection of ascetic creations of the Holy Fathers and other books. From this his main work began - to translate, write and publish spiritual books. He translated from Latin and significantly edited the book of the Italian monk Lorenzo Skupoli “Unseen Warfare”, translated into Russian by St. Theophan the Recluse (1815–1894). The honorable head of the saint is kept on Athos in the cell of Skurtheon in Karey (the administrative center of the Holy Mountain). He was counted among the saints on May 31, 1955 by the decree of the Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople (1948–1972).

[38] Apostolic ordinances is a written monument whose full title is “Decisions of the Holy Apostles through Clement, the Roman Bishop and Citizen” (“Constitutiones apostolicae”), attributed to the holy martyr Clement of Rome († 101). The edition of the collection goes back to the 5th century. It is based on a variety of sources, such as the “Catholic Teaching of the Twelve Apostles and Holy Disciples of our Savior” (III century) and the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” (Didachi) (end of the 1st century). The collection contains prayers, the order of Baptism and the Eucharist, a list of consecrated bishops and their first successors; decisions on the catechumenate, on the home life of men, women and virgins; instructions regarding the rules and regulations of church life, the rights and duties of spiritual persons, their election and dedication, in relation to church holidays, fasting, prayers, worship; it speaks of the duties and activities of the bishop, of persons close to him, and of his employees — deacons, deaconesses, subdeacons, and readers; widows and orphans; about the martyrs, about the celebration of Easter, about the attitude to heretics; about talents, about ordination.

[39] Ephesus - the largest of the twelve cities of Ionia (an area on the western coast of Asia Minor near the Aegean; now these are the territories adjacent to Izmir in Turkey), was originally the center of the Asia Minor Greek colonies, and during the rule of the Romans - the main city of the province of Asia.

[40] Milit is a city in Caria, in the southwest of Asia Minor. Christianity in Milit was planted by the apostles, and one of the bishops of Milit was present at the Council of Nicaea (325). In the New Testament, the name of the city is found several times (Acts 20, 15–17; 2 Tim. 4, 20). It should not be confused with Melite, the island visited by the holy apostle Paul (Acts 27, 27–44; 28, 1–11) and which some (starting with Emperor Constantine VIII Bagryanorodny, the tenth century) identify with the island of Melenia, today's Mliet, off the coast of Croatia; but according to the latest scientific data (N. Warnecke) - this is Kefallia island in the Ionian Sea.

[41] St. Athanasius I the Great (c. 295–373) was the Patriarch of Alexandria (p. 328), the main opponent of the Arians and protector of the Nicene creed. For his resistance against the Arians, he was expelled five times by emperors and spent several years of his bishopric away from the diocese. The creative heritage of St. Athanasius is quite extensive. The Life of St. Anthony became a classic example of hagiographic literature and played a large role in the spread of monasticism.

[42] The Sanhedrin (from Greek together, congregation; Heb. Sanhedrin), led by high priest Caiaphas, condemned Christ to death. The Sanhedrin is the supreme council and court of the Jews, where the most important religious and civil affairs were discussed. It was an aristocratic supreme judicial body and consisted of 71–72 members, co-optated from the best Pharisees and Sadducees (priests). It also included retired high priests, chiefs of priestly attitudes, perhaps some of the influential scribes, legalists, and elders. Membership in the Sanhedrin was lifelong. The Sanctuary was convened and led by a high priest, elected from among the Sadducees. After the conquest of Judea by the Romans (63 BC), the Sanhedrin could pass death sentences, but their execution required the consent of the Roman ruler (at the time of Christ it was the fifth prosecutor of Judea and Samaria Pontius Pilate (26–36)). Until the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD), it functioned in the capital of Judea. The name Sanhedrin is found only in the Gospel and the Acts of the Holy Apostles; from these books the names of some members of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin came to us: high priest Caiaphas (18–36 according to R.H.), his father-in-law Annas, former high priest (6–15 years according to R.H.) (high priests at different times there were five of his sons), the high priest Ananias, the Pharisee Gamaliel, as well as Saints Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. 

[43] St. Eustathius of Thessalonica (c. 1115–1135 - c. 1193 or 1195–97) was born in Constantinople, where the years of his studies passed, early became a monk in the monastery of St. Euphemia, then he was a patriarch deacon (1150). After 1174, he was elevated to the rank of Bishop of Mir Lycian, and later (1177–1180) he became the metropolitan of Thessalonica. In 1185, he was an eyewitness to the capture of Thessalonica by the Normans and described this event in the historiographical work “On the fall of Thessalonica”. In 1191, he temporarily left the boundaries of his diocese due to threats from opponents of his transformations aimed at correcting the moral and spiritual state of the clergy, monks and lay people. A wonderful rhetorician, author of many speeches, scholiums and messages, as well as a number of philological treatises - comments on ancient works. Originality and acuteness are distinguished by his works - “On the correction of monastic life”, “On hypocrisy”.

[44] St. Basil the Great (330–378) was the Archbishop of Caesarea of ​​Cappadocia, ecumenical father and teacher of the Church. His parents, the presbyter Basil the Elder († c. 341) and Saint Emilia (Emmelia) († 375), had ten children, five of whom were counted as saints — the Venerable Macrina (327–379) and the righteous deaconess Theozva (Theosebia) ( † 385), as well as Saints Gregory of Nyssa (335–394) and Peter, Bishop of Sebaste of Armenia (349– c. 392). In his writings, St. Basil actually laid the foundations of all theological terminology, the entire system of Orthodox dogmatic thought, dividing and defining the concepts of hypostasis and usii (essence). He expresses the attitude of the persons of the Trinity as follows: God is one in essence, but threefold in hypostases. The theology of the saint served as the basis for the whole Christology of the IV, V and VI Ecumenical Councils. The saint played a prominent role in the victory over Arianism. One of the main liturgies of the Church, performed ten times a year, is associated with the name of St. Basil. He also introduced antiphonic singing into the service. St. Basil was the founder of Asia Minor cenobitic monasticism. He left behind many creations, among them the Six Days, which sets out the principles of Christian cosmogony, is especially famous. For his mercy and help to the poor, as well as the fact that his memory is celebrated on the first of January according to the old calendar, in Greece Saint Basil (Ai-Vasilis) is revered just like Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) in the West.

[45] Pnevmatomakhs, or semi-Arians (Greek Dukhobors),were heretics who had the correct and Orthodox teaching of the Son (they recognized Him as consubstantial with the Father), but they blasphemed the Holy Spirit, not reckoning Him to be of one essence with the Divine Father and the Son, considering him created, like Angels, a being subordinate to God the Father and Christ. They did not allow the Holy Spirit to be called God and denied him being consubstantial with the Father and the Son. One of the names of Dukhoborobstvo, Macedonianism, comes from the name of Macedonius I, Bishop of Constantinople (342–346 and 351–360), who was not directly involved in heresy, but the heretics stole his name after his death.

[46] Oikonomia (from "ikos" (house) and "nomos" (law), literally Management or dispensation of a house, deeds; home economics, house-building) is God's management of His house, that is, the Divine plan for the salvation of the world He created; God's house-building is the plan of salvation that pervades the whole history, His providence for the whole creation, concerning the creation of the world, including the creation, special care and guidance of human life, the very incarnation of God the Word, the atonement of fallen humanity and, finally, the dispensation, consecration and management of the Church. In other words, house-building is a constant manifestation (Epiphany, revelation) of the Holy Trinity in creation and history; in housekeeping, God reveals Himself, creating the world, preaching about it, incarnating, teaching His grace through the divine energies. [In this connection, it is very important to distinguish the Trinity that is eternal in Its essence (oussia) and the hypostatic properties of Her Persons (fatherland, sonship and origin), to which no one can be involved, and the Trinity of house-building (economic) in Her manifestations in relation to creation through the uncreated Divine energies, through participation in which a person receives deification. It is impossible to know God outside the “economy” in which He reveals Himself - the transcendental God in His economy is becoming immanent thanks to the energies that pervade the whole creature.] The housekeepers of the Spirit (clerics) are called to solve church issues in accordance with this housekeeping of God - in the spirit of Divine humanity, wisdom and His will for the salvation of man - for the purpose of the economy is one - both for the Lord and for the shepherd of souls, all care and care is to return the lost sheep and healed by the snake to heal. The idea of ​​economy as a church-creative thinking is primarily associated with love: the Church, temporarily and reasonably not applying the full rigor of canonical rules (acrivia), continues the Divine house-building in order to achieve the same goal - “seek and save” a person (Luke 19, 10). Therefore, for the sake of the benefit, development, growth of the Church, the observance of church unity for the salvation of man, for the sake of that church building, house-building, economy, which pastors are called to be guided by, in practice a temporary deviation from the letter of the law is allowed. The Church condescends to human weakness and suffers, without resorting to punishment (deviation from acrivia), in order to help a person, keep him in his bosom and, introducing him to life in Christ, lead to the knowledge of the truth for his growth in “the fullness of Christ "(Ephesians 4, 13), again making it one of the members of the Saints' society - the Church. For the sake of this, indulgence is required, the gracious kenosis of the Church for those who have fallen from it. In this regard, a number of rules, in cases where their literal fulfillment is not useful, contains instructions about their philanthropic or useful for the Church application, in which one can see the manifestation of the Church’s house-building concerns. However, oikonomia in no way cancels the canons, for, as a rule, they always show the right path to the truth - to its knowledge and life according to it. And despite the fact that the strength of some canons in practice or for reasons of housebuilding sometimes weakens, their eternal and indisputable authority is not diminished - for the sake of the benefit of its fullness, anyone can renew the force of these rules, even if they have not been applied for many centuries. In a narrow sense, oikonomia is a possible condescension in the practical application of church laws and the softening of canons (for example, with respect to penances, concessions in fasting), allowed in a specific situation in relation to a weak person, for the sake of his spiritual good; such advisable relief is always temporary.

[47] Acrivia (Greek: accuracy) is the application of the full severity of canonical rules in the specific circumstances of the life of the Church, that is, the exact fulfillment of church canons, in accordance with the letter of the law. St. Basil (330–378), using the term acrivia, remarks that we “must <...> obey the rules with precision” (Rule 1), that is, preference should always be given to acrivia. If questions of canonics, church practice and discipline, depending on the situation, can be solved both on the basis of acrivia and economy, then questions of a dogmatic nature should be resolved only from the principle of acrivia. The Holy Fathers understood oikonomia as an indulgence in comparison with acrivia, that is, as a measure of pastoral expediency, and acrivia as a theological criterion, which forms the canonical basis of the Church, is a practice proceeding from its self-awareness, according to which there are no Sacraments or salvation outside the Church. In other words, acrivia and economy are not equivalent. This means that one cannot be arbitrarily replaced by another, for example, as happened with the method of Baptism - sprinkling is an exception when you cannot baptize by immersion. However, just such a method of baptism is now widespread - acrivia is completely unjustifiably replaced by economy, condescension has become the rule. According to the Monk Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (1749–1809), the economy, which some of the fathers sometimes resorted to, can be considered neither a law nor an example. Church use requires either rigor or indulgence, that is, it is an economy of rigor, when considerations of economy, for example, can sometimes require the use of acrivia (for example, for edification). Both oikonomia and acrivia serve the same creative purpose — building the house of God, that is, the economy of the Church, are those means that equally contribute to the spiritual salvation of believers and the opposition to sin. The combination of canonical acrivia and church economy constitute two aspects of the same work of serving the saints, for the building up of the Body of Christ (see Ephesians 4, 12), given to the clergy, who have been given by the Lord the authority to bind and decide (cf. . 20, 23).

[48] ​​Monophysitism (from the Greek: the one-born) is a Christological heresy, founded in the 5th century by the Archimandrite of Constantinople Eutyches (412–444) and supported by the Patriarch of Alexandria Dioscoros (444–451). Monophysites claimed that during the incarnation of Christ the two natures became one - the Divine, and the perceived human nature became only the property of His Deity - absorbed by him and losing all his own reality, it can only be mentally separated from the Divine. But if human nature in Christ was completely absorbed by the Divine, then God in Him, although embodied, did not become human, perceived only to be in the flesh, but did not become completely human. This doctrine arose as a refutation of the already condemned (431) Nestorianism, which separated the two natures in Christ, up to the violation of His personal and hypostatic unity. The Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon (451) condemned Monophysitism and drew up its definition in which Christ is confessed to be perfect God and perfect Man, consubstantial with the Father in Divinity and us in humanity, dwelling in incarnation as well and inseparable in two natures, but in a single hypostasis . Decisions of the Council were not adopted in Egypt, Armenia, Syria and Ethiopia. Bloody riots took place in the east of the Empire, a long unrest began. The kings feared the retreat of the rebellious provinces and therefore forced the patriarchs to agree with heretics, however, the firm position of Rome and the uprising of the Orthodox people in Constantinople led to the fact that the Monophysite hierarchs were everywhere deposed and fled to Egypt (519). In the VII century. Monophysite doctrine gains a new life in monotheletism.

[49] Valent II Flavius (FlaviusValens) (c. 328–378) - emperor of the eastern part of the Roman Empire (p. 364)

[50] Eparch (Greek ruler, chief) - in Byzantium, the mayor of Constantinople (with its district), the head of the executive branch of Constantinople. Appointed and subordinated directly to the emperor. He had a large staff of employees, a military detachment, a prison; was in charge of the activities of firefighters. His functions, in addition to judicial (only Vasilevs could cancel his sentences) and police (including monitoring the stay of nonresident and foreigners in the capital), included supplying the city, regulating handicraft production, intra-city and foreign trade (including prices), and control over spectacles (organization of ceremonies, festivities, performances at the hippodrome, executions, burial of members of the royal family). He took care of the improvement of Constantinople, of security and maintenance of order (including the prevention and suppression of uprisings), controlled the work of all public institutions, and organized the construction of public works in the city. During the absence of the emperor in the capital, the eparch often headed the government and the military forces in the city obeyed him. This post appeared in the middle of the 4th century, but after the capture of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1204, it was actually abolished; in the 14th century although it is mentioned, it is rather a title that has nothing to do with city government.

[51] Emperor Valens (364–378) was inclined to Arianism by his wife Albia Domnica and began to act in favor of heretics, raising up all kinds of persecution of the Orthodox - by his order eighty elders in Nicomedia were put on a ship and set on fire, and many Orthodox that were in Antioch were drowned in the river. In particular, the monks of Egypt and Pontus (northeastern part of Cappadocia) were persecuted, many of whom were put to death. Knowing the strength of St. Basil (330–378), Valens really wanted to persuade him to convert to Arianism. Intending to go to Caesarea himself, he first sent an eparch - the Arian Modestus, who had been instructed to convert St. Basil to Arianism, and failing that, to expel him from the city. Soon, Valens arrived in Caesarea, whom Modestus informed that he had obtained nothing from the saint. The king sought the opportunity to speak with the saint in person. There were no Arian churches in the city, therefore, at the Epiphany, the emperor with his retinue entered the temple where St. Basil served. At the same time, he himself brought the gifts to the altar, but none of the clergymen touched them, not knowing whether the archpastor would accept them from the heretic. Valens was so embarrassed that he left the temple. Another time, when St. Basil was not serving, he invited the king to the altar, where he spoke a lot about dogmas. Valens was delighted with the conversation with the wise hierarch. Thus, the saint was still left in his pulpit, but the diocese was divided, and the bishop-Arian became the head of the second metropolis. Saint Basil took a retaliatory step - in order to have the votes of Orthodox bishops, if necessary, he elevated his brother Saint Gregory of Nyssa and friend Saint Gregory of Nazianzus to the hierarchal rank, which, however, they very much opposed. 

[52] Jethro is the priest of Midian, father of Zipporah, wife of the holy prophet Moses. “And Moses listened to his father-in-law's words and did everything that he said” (Ex. 18, 13-24).

[53] St. Gregory I the Theologian, or Nazianzen (c. 300– c. 391), is an outstanding theologian, one of the three ecumenical teachers of the Church. Friend and Companion of St. Basil the Great (330–378); son of St. Gregory (Elder), Bishop of Nazianzus. He was bishop of Sasim (Cappadocia), but most likely he never served the liturgy within his diocese. After the death of his father, he inherited the diocese of Nazianzus (Cappadocia), and then was elected patriarch to the Arian kingdom of Constantinople (379–381). He presided at the Second Ecumenical Council (381), contributing to the establishment of Christology and the Orthodox understanding of the Holy Spirit as the third Person of the Trinity. He is the author of many theological works, among which the Five Words about Theology are especially notable, for which the Church calls him the Theologian. Autobiographical poems "About my life", "About my fate" and "On the sufferings of my soul" are in the same line as the "Confession" of St. Augustine (354–430).

[54] This refers to the Second Word (3rd Russian translation) of St. Gregory (300–390), as well as the “Six Words about the Priesthood” written by St. John Chrysostom (354–407) on the following occasion: St. Basil (330–378) became aware that the bishops who had gathered in 374 in Antioch had set out to set both of them as archpastors. Saint John, understanding the height of the priestly calling, and even more so the bishop's ministry and considering himself unprepared for the proper performance of the duties of a pastor, hid secretly from everyone and even from his brother Basil, who was elevated to the bishop (probably Rafana of Syria, near Antioch). Soon, when he saw St. John, St. Basil expressed his friendly reproaches to him for evading the priesthood, a brilliant answer to which are these words about the priesthood written between 374 and 386, when St. John was already ordained as presbyter.

[55] The Venerable Maximus the Confessor (c. 580–662) was a Byzantine theologian, the main opponent of the Monophelites, including Emperor Heraclius I (610–641) and Patriarch of Constantinople Sergius I (610–638). His father was a Samaritan craftsman, and his mother was a Persian slave who was baptized. At birth he received the name Moskhion. After the death of his parents at the age of ten, he was transferred to one of the Palestinian monasteries for education, where he was named Maxim. The Persian invasion of Palestine and their capture of Jerusalem (614) forced the monk to leave the Holy Land. So he ended up in the capital of the empire, where he became secretary of the emperor Heraclius, but soon left the service and went to one of the monasteries near Constantinople, but the invasion of the Persians and Avars (626) forced him to leave the city. Having visited Crete and Cyprus, he lived for some time in North Africa, then in Palestine and Syria. In 641–645 the monk again labored in the north of Africa, where in 645, in a dispute with the Monothelites in Carthage, he defeated the former Patriarch of Constantinople Pyrrhus (639–641 and 653–654). In the same year, he went to Rome and, closely converging with the pope, Hierarch Martin (649–653), was the main initiator of the Lateran Cathedral (649), at which anathemas were proclaimed to the main heresiarchs of the Monothelites. The saint argued that will and energy are inherent in nature, and, therefore, in Christ, in the presence of two natures, there must be both Divine will and action, as well as human. For this, in 653, Saint Maxim, like the pope, was arrested, convicted and exiled. For his irreconcilable position in 662, the monk was once again brought to the capital, again convicted, subjected to cutting off his tongue and cutting off his right hand, and exiled to Lazika (Western Georgia), where he soon died and was buried in the Shemari fortress (662). The doctrine of St. Maximus triumphed at the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680).

[56] Monothelitism (Greek: one will) is a heresy that took shape in the 7th century and representing a modification of monophysitism. According to the Monothelites, Christ, in the presence of two natures - Divine and human, has a single will - Divine. Monothelites managed to persuade most hierarchs of Egypt, Syria and Byzantium to believe this heresy - it was supported by all the eastern patriarchs (except St. Sophronius of Jerusalem; 580-638), as well as Pope Honorius I (625-638). In an effort to return to the Church and annex to the Empire monophysitic areas - Egypt, Syria and Armenia, Emperor Heraclius I (610–641) supported monoenergy — the compromised teaching of heresiarch Patriarch Sergius (610–638) that two natures exist in Christ, but only one Divine energy, action. Then monoenergism grew into monotheletism. The Venerable Maximus (580–662) argued that the will, as a natural desire, is an indispensable expression of nature, and not hypostasis, and therefore, two natures cannot have one will - without two wills there cannot be two natures in Christ. The Monothelites believed that the recognition in Christ of two wills was tantamount to recognizing in Him a propensity for both good and evil. But with the sinless Christ, these two natural desires (wills) did not lead to moral conflict, since one (human) was in complete agreement with the other (Divine). Monothelitism led to monophysitism, denying the full incarnation of the Word of God. The persecutions started strengthening against the Orthodox, and the Arabs' seizure of the eastern regions of the empire (Egypt and Syria), where there were centers of Monothelitism, stopped theological debate. The Sixth Ecumenical Council (680) decreed that two energies and two wills abide in Christ, of which the human in perfect agreement follows or obeys the Divine, but is not destroyed by it. The emperor from Armenians, Philippe Vardan (711–713), wanting to reconcile his compatriots with the Empire, tried to reverse the decisions of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, but the renewed polemic was drowned out by the first outbreaks of iconoclasm.

[57] Peter (654–666) was the last monothelite patriarch of Constantinople, successor to Pyrrhus (639–641 and 653–654). Presided over the trial of St. Martin (649–653) and the Venerable Maximus the Confessor (580–662).

[58] The Chalcedonian faith is in an unbounded, unchanging, inseparable and inseparable hypostatic unity of two natures in Christ; this dogmatic definition (“oros”) was adopted at the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon (451); according to it, the two different natures in Christ - human and Divine - formed one hypostasis (personality); the first two definitions are directed against the Monophysites, the last - against the Nestorians. (Holy Empress Pulcheria (398–453) and Emperor Marcian (450–457) announced the convening of a new cathedral in Nicaea in October 451. More than 500 bishops arrived by the appointed date, but such a large amount of bishops had not gathered before, and Marcian was busy with military affairs to defend the city from a new wave of Huns, so he ordered the council to be held closer to the capital. )

[59] Pyrrhus († 655) was Patriarch of Constantinople (639–641 and 653–654), successor to Sergius I (610–638), a staunch monothelite, one of the heresy ideologists. While still an abbot, Pyrrhus corresponded with the Venerable Maximus (580–662) on the issue of monoenergy - the teachings of Patriarch Sergius that due to the hypostatic unity of natures, only one divine-human energy (action) is possible in Christ. Then, in 638, Sergius and Pyrrhus composed the Monotheletite Ectesis (Statement of Faith), signed by King Heraclius I (610–641), distributed throughout the Empire and then proclaimed Pyrrhus' as the official doctrine of the Church. Upon the death of Heraclius, Pyrrhus was involved in a dynastic struggle. At the same time, his relations with the imperious August Martina became aggravated, so he was arrested, overthrown [another monothelite - Paul II (641–653) became the patriarch] and exiled to Carthage. Here in 645, he held a theological debate with the Venerable Maximus, after which Pyrrhus publicly declared himself defeated and, returning to Orthodoxy, departed for Rome, where he repented to Pope Theodore I (642–649). Soon, however, while in Ravenna, Pyrrhus sent the pope a renunciation of his reunion with the Church and returned to monothelitism. Pope Theodore anathematized Pyrrhus, this act in 649 was enshrined in the Lateran Cathedral, which condemned the patriarchs Sergius and Paul. The 6th Ecumenical Council (680) added to their names Pyrrhus’ successor in the pulpit, the monothelite patriarch Peter (655–666), excommunicating them all from the Church. Pyrrhus died in 655 in Constantinople during negotiations with representatives of the pope on the restoration of church communion.

[60] St. Martin the Confessor (649–653; † 655) was the Pope of Rome. To fight against the heresy of the Monothelites, which became widespread (even the emperor Constant II (641–668) and the Patriarch of Constantinople Paul II (641–653) were its adherents), the saint convened a Lateran Council in Rome (649), which was close to the ecumenical authority, during which he condemned monothelitism. For this, in 653 he was arrested and secretly sent to Constantinople. On a far-fetched accusation of secret communication with the enemies of the Saracen Empire, blasphemy of the Virgin and non-canonical accession to the papal throne (he was elected after a two-month vacancy, without approval by the Byzantine emperor), the saint was sentenced in 654 and underwent a year of imprisonment. In 655, he was called to trial in Constantinople and sentenced to death on libelous charges, but at the request of the patriarch, the execution was replaced by exile to the Crimean peninsula, where he was secretly sent. Here, in deprivation, Saint Martin spent the last two years of his life.

[61] From the constructive understanding of economics, it follows that it is impossible, for reasons of economy, to depart from the teachings of the Church, from the truth, for the destruction of the foundation of the Church, the diminution of truth, would be contrary to the basic meaning of homebuilding - creation. Therefore, the Holy Fathers could, for the sake of economy, retreat only from the external form of the rules or even the Sacraments, but not from the truth itself, to which they sought to attract as many human souls as possible. For they knew that not all standing for the canonical truth corresponds to the sacred canons, but can also be considered as contrary to their spirit and main goal - building, when it leads to the fragmentation of the Church. But oikonomia under no circumstances can allow or justify a sinful act, cannot declare sin "to be nonexistent." According to St. John Chrysostom (398–404), “only that which is not lawless is house-building”. Sin has no place in the Church - it cannot allow sin into itself, cannot and should not bear heresy, insanity, and neglect of canons and commandments. Everything related to the establishments of the Spirit must be observed with all accuracy and thoroughness. The church will always accept a repentant sinner  in order to forgive sin, heal it, and destroy it by grace, but never to say that there was no sin. The Church is ready to accept people, one at a time and by communities, but it will never accept sinful, heretical institutions, it will never reconcile with an alien dogma. Therefore, one who, being in a heretical hostage and believing himself to be baptized, embarks on the Church, receives the grace of Baptism, which he did not have before, either when he is baptized with true Baptism, or, by economy, in the very union, through Penance or Anointing. Like the one who received ordination from the hands of a heretic or schismatic, he is accepted in the existing dignity, receiving the grace of consecration in the Sacrament by which he is accepted into the Church. Therefore, the principle of church economy does not in any way contradict the dogmatic teaching on the uniqueness of the Church, for it does not give the slightest reason to assert that saving grace can be taught outside the Church and that such “sacraments” can be real (or have some degree of reality) and grace.

[62] Saint Sophronius I (the Wise) (c. 580–638) - the patriarch of Jerusalem (634–644), is known as an implacable opponent of the Monotheelite heresy (by 630 the remaining patriarchal thrones in the East were occupied by heretics). He is the author of the words in praise of the Venerable Mary of Egypt and Saints Cyrus and John (the reason for the compilation was his miraculous healing from eye disease). Together with St. John Mosch (Euratus) (545–619) he composed “Limonar” or “Spiritual Meadow” (Sinai Patericon) - a collection of lives and teachings of modern ascetics. Revised and corrected the Charter of the monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. He was the author of many three odes canons on the days of the Fourteenth, not later included in the Studio Charter (he introduced this charter into general use in Palestine). He also created the rite of the Great Hours for Christmas, not quite the same as the ones used today. He should probably be credited with the final formation of the rank of the Great Blessing of the Waters. Of the theological heritage, the district epistle, published when he entered the pulpit, is best known, where he offers a detailed confession of faith in view of the emerging Monothelite heresy. Subsequently, at the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680), it was adopted as an accurate account of faith. The sermons of the saint are interesting in those historical details that allow us to imagine the life of the Church in Jerusalem conquered by the Arabs (638). Also preserved are his homilies, set forth in poetic form.

[63] Caesarepapism (Caesaropapism) (from Latin caesar - Caesar and papa - pope) is a religious-political model in which both secular and spiritual power are concentrated in the hands of a secular ruler, either directly or through complete submission from the church hierarchy. Under caesarapapism, the ruler is perceived as the vicar of Christ on earth, although, as a rule, this refers to the position, and not to the person. This conditional term was introduced by Western historians (I. Hergenreter et al.) to refer to the system of relations between secular and ecclesiastical authority, characteristic of Byzantium, where the emperors essentially ruled the Church, uniting the head of state and Church in one person, appropriating supreme rights in church governance and putting himself above the power of the patriarchs, subordinating the Church to its interests. The reign of emperors Theodosius II (408–450), St. Justinian I (527–565), Heraclius I (610–641), Constant II (641–668) and Manuel I (1143–1180), and then emperors were noted -Iconists. A similar relationship arose after the reformation in Protestant countries, where the sovereigns appropriated the authority of the highest bishops. Some historians see something similar in the relations between the monarch and the Church that were established in Russia after the destruction of the patriarchal power (1721).

[64] Symphony of authorities (literally consent, consensus) - in Byzantium, even under St. Constantine (306–337), the material power of the state and the spiritual power of the Church were first united according to the principle of “symphony” of these two authorities. For the first time, this ideal harmonic relationship between the Church and the state was formulated in the Sixth Law by the Holy Emperor Justinian I the Great (527–565), finding a suitable term for the new relations of the “priesthood and kingdom”: “If that (priesthood) will be impeccably and involved in everything boldness towards God, and this (kingdom) will correctly order the society handed over to him, then there will be a kind symphony ... ” The opposite of symphony is caesarepapism and papocaesarism. Both of these models violate the principle of proper relations between the Church and the state - in the first system, the state prevails, in the second - the Church. 

[65] The Venerable Theodore the Studite (759–826) is one of the main teachers of asceticism and an apologist for icon veneration. He and his wife Anna both were tonsured and he enetered the monastery of Saccudion, in 794 becoming its abbot. Due to conflicts with secular power, St. Theodore the Studite was repeatedly expelled from the monastery. The first time he was exiled because of a protest against the adulterous marriage of Emperor Constantine VI (780–797) with Theodota, a relative of the Venerable Theodore (after her marriage she even tried to appease him with gifts, but he rejected them). Another time, Emperor Constantine wanted to visit the monastery of Saccudion, passing nearby, but the monks did not come out to meet him. For this insult and for exposing the king, the saint was imprisoned, from where in 796, after severe tortures, he was exiled to Thessalonica. After the death of Constantine, his mother, the holy Empress Irene (797–802), freed the Venerable Theodore, and in 798 he settled with his students in the Studio monastery. Under him, the number of brethren increased from 12 to 1000 people and the studites gained enormous weight in church life, even the patriarch and emperor had to take them into account. Soon the saint was again persecuted by Nicephorus I Genik (802-811) - when the question arose about the pardon of the excommunicated priest Constantine, the Monk Theodore rebelled against this, again contrary to the emperor and patriarch, and was expelled to one of the Princes' Islands, where he spent two years (809–811). After the death of the king, he returned to the capital. Under Emperor Leo V the Armenian (813–820), he condemned iconoclasm, was imprisoned, and after terrible torture he was sent to a distant exile where no one was allowed to see him; but the saint continued his struggle for the purity of Orthodoxy with his messages to various people (more than 500 of his letters were preserved), for which he was subjected to beatings and deprivations. Although the death of Leo ended the Venerable Theodore's exile, he ended his long-suffering life path again in wanderings, surrounded by devoted disciples. But just two years after his death, he was canonized, and at the Council in 843, when Orthodoxy triumphed, his name was glorified.

[66] The Venerable John of Damascus (c. 680– c. 784)was a theologian, anthem, and melurgist. He was born in a Christian Arab family near Damascus - his worldly name was Mansour (from Arabic, meaning victorious). He was the treasurer of the caliph, but after being slandered he left Damascus, becoming a dweller in the monastery of St. Sava near Jerusalem. Being the main opponent of iconoclasm, he suffered for his fervor - the caliph, believing the forged letter drawn up by the iconoclast emperor Leo III (717–741), ordered that St. John have his right hand cut off, which grew back again by the fervent prayer of the righteous man before the icon of the Virgin. He placed the image of the healed hand in the salary of this icon, which is why the icon became known as the Three-Handed. His unsurpassed works - “The Source of Knowledge”, as well as “An Accurate Presentation of the Orthodox Faith” - became models for theologians for many centuries. He systematized and recorded the melodies of the liturgical circle, the Oktoechos, contributing to the design of the Byzantine system of eight tones; author of more than 60 canons, for example, such as Easter and the Virgin. He also wrote theoretical works on the construction of tones and their connection with the ancient Greek tropos. For all this he was nicknamed 'the golden speaker'.

[67] Constantine VI (771– after 797) - the last emperor (from 780) of the Isaurian (Syrian) dynasty.

[68] Iconoclasm arose at the beginning of the VIII century. It was a heretical movement against icon veneration, which had been mistaken for the idolatry condemned in the Old Testament. From a dogmatic point of view, the prohibition of the image of the Son of God (His principle indefinability) denies the fullness of the incarnation of God the Word. The persecution of icons began under Leo III the Isaurian (717–741), who banned the veneration of icons in 730. The persecution was continued under his son Constantine V Kopronimus (741–775) and grandson of Leo IV Khazar (775–780). The Iconoclastic Cathedral of 754 in Hieria condemned icon veneration; on it the basic principles of iconoclasm were formulated, and the veneration of icons was equated with idolatry and declared heresy; tens of thousands of sacred images (icons, frescoes, sculptures) were destroyed, those who kept them were persecuted. The son of Leo IV, Constantine VI (780–797), under the influence of his mother Saint Irene, convened the Ecumenical Council in Nicaea VII (787), which condemned the heresy of iconoclasm and approved the dogma of icon veneration. The second wave of persecution of icons was under Leo V the Armenian (813–820), who convened a new iconoclastic council (815), at which the decrees of the VII Ecumenical Council were canceled and the decrees of the iconoclastic council of 754 entered into force, but the icons were ordered not to be considered idols . Persecution continued under Michael II Travle (820–829) and Theophilus (829–842). The final restoration of icon veneration occurred in 843 under the Holy Empress Theodora, when the zealous defenders of Orthodoxy were canonized and the iconoclasts anathematized. The Roman Church, not affected by the iconoclasts, always firmly opposed the iconoclastic emperors. However, this did not stop her at the cathedrals in Frankfurt (794, the initiative of Charlemagne) and Paris (825) to recognize the service of the icons as idolatry; however, their significance as decoration of temples was not denied. All this ultimately led the West to replace the sacred church image with the secular, unspiritual canvas of the Renaissance and, in response to this, to restore the elements of iconoclasm in Protestantism.

[69] Leo V Armenian (813–820) was a Byzantine emperor and a secret iconoclast who contributed to the rapid restoration of this teaching. In 814, he then instructed the little-known clergyman John, nicknamed Grammatik for his scholarship [John VII Morokharzaniy (Hovhannes Kerakan), the Patriarch of Constantinople (837–843), a native of Armenia, an ardent iconoclast; ideologist of the revival of iconoclasm], once again from a theological point of view to consider the issue of icons; the wicked one confirmed: icons cannot be worshiped. In 815, a new iconoclastic council was convened in Constantinople, repealing the decisions of the 7th Ecumenical Council (787), prohibiting "the production of icons and the worshiping of those things that disagree with tradition, or are, more accurately, useless," and proclaiming a return to the decrees of the iconoclastic cathedral in Hieria ( 754). Returning to the beginnings of Leo III (717–741), Leo the Armenian declared: “You see that all the sovereigns who recognized the icons and worshiped them [referring to Constantine VI (780–797) who ruled before him, St. Irina (797–802 ), Nicephorus I (802–811), Stavraki (811) and Michael I (811–813)], died either in exile or in war. Only those who did not venerate the icons died their death on the throne and, transferred with honor to the imperial tombs, were buried in the church of the Apostles. "I also want to imitate them and destroy the icons, so that after the long life of me and my son, our kingdom may last until the fourth and fifth generation."

[70] Michael II (820–829) was the emperor of Byzantium, the founder of the Amorian (Phrygian) dynasty, nicknamed Travl (lisping). He was poorly versed in theological subtleties and was indifferent to questions of faith. He himself was not an iconoclast by conviction, however, the official religious doctrine of the state continued to be iconoclastic - in the churches, holy images, if they still existed, were placed high up, out of sight, and contempt for icon veneration was inspired in schools as a result of ignorance. Papal ambassador St. Methodius I (future Patriarch of Constantinople, 842–846) was punished with whips by Michael for his call to restore icon veneration. Deposed under Leo V (813–820), Patriarch Nicephorus I (806–815) wrote to Michael, asking to revive icon veneration. The emperor answered him: “I did not come to innovate the dogmas of faith and did not destroy ... what is  established. Let everyone act according to his will and desire ... We have found the Church in this position, in this position we decide to leave it. Therefore, we determine that no one dares to raise the word neither against the icons, nor for them ... and may deep silence be held in relation to the icons. ” However, he gradually abandoned his original intentions, and began to persecute the Orthodox: he expelled some icon-worshiping preachers from the city, and imprisoned others.

[71] Hieromonk Joseph, abbot of the Kafarov monastery near Nicaea, clergyman of the church of St. Sophia of Constantinople, economist of the Great Church (a position close to the modern protopresbyter)

[72] Romei (Greek for Roman) was what the Byzantines called themselves, based on the Greek pronunciation of the word "Roman". Initially testified to the civic belonging to the Roman Empire, later, after the fall of its Western part in the 5th century, to the Byzantine Empire. Different nationalities inhabiting it perceived the culture and language of Byzantium, becoming their carriers. But at the same time, all these people remained different in nationality and they distinguished themselves among other Romans - they shared a common language of communication (Greek) and cultural elements introduced by Byzantium. Despite the fact that they considered themselves to be Roman, the Byzantines from the “center” of the empire did not consider them to be such, calling them anything, but not Roman — barbarians, Scythians, and so on. Seeing their superiority over the barbarians in the cultural-state sphere, the Romans, however, were alien to ethnic antipathies. Modern Greeks still call themselves Romans, since the Eastern Roman Empire lasted another thousand years after the fall of the Western (476).

[73] During the time of the Hierarch Tarasius (784–806), Joseph was cast out of the priesthood because in 795 he performed the wedding of Emperor Constantine VI (780–797), who forcibly tonsured his first wife Maria and married his mistress Theodota (a relative of St. Theodore the Studite; 759–826). Joseph, using the change of both civilian (Nicephorus I; 802–811 became emperor) and church authority (Saint Nicephorus I was elected; 806–815), ensured that in 806 the new patriarch, under pressure from the tsar, allowed Joseph to serve. Seeing this, the Venerable Theodore stopped remembering the patriarch, who ultimately, fearing the emperor’s actions aimed at harming the Church, made further concessions: in 809, he convened a local Council, which decided to remove the ban on the priesthood from Joseph. Then St. Theodore protested against such lawlessness, convincing the patriarch "to deprive the priesthood of those who are overthrown by the canons and the former patriarch, was dismissed for nine whole years." The patriarch shied away from negotiations with the Venerable Theodore on this matter. Then St. Theodore and the Studites publicly separated themselves from him. Together with them, many believers were separated from the patriarch. For his refusal to submit to church authorities, the Venerable Theodore (whom the patriarch called "a renegade from the Church"), together with his brother Joseph and uncle, St. Plato, was exiled to one of the Prince Islands, where he stayed two years, until the death of the emperor. After which Patriarch Nicephorus again deprived Joseph of the holy priesthood. And then the Church "again lived in peace, which, through the fault of Emperor Nicephorus, has not existed here for more than five years."

[74] The Princes' Islands is a group of nine islands in the northeast of the Sea of ​​Marmara, near Constantinople. In Byzantine times, some of them were monasteries, which served as a place of exile for deposed emperors and patriarchs, as well as disgraced dignitaries and monks. The Hulk is the place of exile of the Venerable Theodore the Studite, who stayed there from 809 to 811. On Oxia, the first exile was St. Plato the Confessor (809–811). The principle is the largest of all the island, the Byzantines called it "the island of the prince." The principle was the place of expulsion of a significant number of Byzantine church and secular dignitaries. By 821, St. Theodore the Studite (759–826) found refuge with some of his students on it, and he died there.

[75] The righteous Empress Theodora I († 867) - the wife of the emperor Theophilus the iconoclast (829–842), came from the ancient noble Armenian family Mamikonyan. Less than two months after Theophilus died, the holy Queen Empress Theodore, becoming the first regent (842–856) with her young son, put an end to the struggle against iconoclasm, the second wave of which has risen since the reign of Leo V (813–820). To do this, on March 11, 843, on the first Sunday of Lent in Constantinople, a local Council was convened, which, having approved the dogma of icon veneration of the VII Ecumenical Council (787), restored the veneration of icons, and all iconoclasts were anathematized and even forced to participate in the general procession with icons that passed through the streets of the capital. The acts of the Cathedral were carved on three large plates placed in the church of St. Sophia. In memory of this event, the annual celebration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the procession and the special Rite of Orthodoxy were established, on which the “Synodic on the Week of Orthodoxy” is read, consisting of acts of the Council with some later additions. Subsequently, this holiday acquired the general character of the triumph of the Church over all heresies. When her son, Emperor Michael III the Drunkard (856–867), reached adulthood, St. Theodora left Constantinople as a result of intrigue and with four unmarried daughters and retired to a monastery, where she reposed.

[76] Papandreou Andreas (1919–1996) was the Prime Minister of Greece (1981–1985, 1985–1989 and 1993–1996). He was the founder (1974), leader and chairman (1984–1996) of the Pan-Greek Socialist Movement (PASOK); along with the right-wing party New Democracy, now in power, it is one of the most influential political groups in Greece, the largest opposition party in parliament.

[77] Anastasius I of Thrace (c. 430–518) was the emperor of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire (p. 491), nicknamed Dikor (literally: different eyes) for his different eye colors - black and blue. Some historians and chroniclers called him the Unholy for Monophysitism. Patriarch Euthymius I (490–496) agreed only agreed to crown Anastasius after he recognized the definition of the Council of Chalcedon. His reign passed in disagreements between the Monophysites and the Orthodox, since the decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council were neither explicitly recognized nor rejected - everyone believed as he pleased. In 511, outrage arose among the Orthodox when the singers of the palace church began to sing the Trisagion song with the addition, contrary to tradition, of the words "crucified for us," as was customary among the Monophysites of Antioch. The intensity of the struggle went so far that Anastasius in fear locked the doors of the palace and kept the ships ready for flight. In 512, he persuaded two villains to accuse the patriarch of Macedonia II (496–511), whom he had previously publicly insulted, of sodomy and heresy. He then exiled the patriarch without any trial, and sent many of his clergymen to prison. Due to additions to the Trisagion in Constantinople, unrest began again. In 513, the federation leader Vitalian, declaring himself the defender of Orthodoxy, besieged the capital. The emperor had to agree with the demands of the rebels to convene a new Ecumenical Council, as well as to return all the expelled Orthodox bishops. But Anastasius did not keep his word. The rebels again approached Constantinople. Having made a truce, the emperor treacherously violated it and, having attacked the fleet of Vitalian, defeated him. Anastasius died at night during a terrible thunderstorm - according to the chroniclers, he was killed by lightning.

[78] Euthyanism is a branch of Monophysitism, which taught that Christ is not consubstantial with us, that is, Christ's humanity was not recognized as being the same as ours. Eutych (or Eutychius) was the Archimandrite of Constantinople, who maintained close contact with Alexandria and Egypt, the head of a large group of monks (412–444). In 448, at a local Council in Constantinople Eutyches was excommunicated for his heretical views and deprived of his dignity. However, the emperor Theodosius II (408–450) had one close associate, named Chrysaphius, a creature of the Alexandrian patriarch Dioscoros (444–451) and a supporter of Eutyches. Chrisaphius obtained from the emperor the convocation of a council in Ephesus (449) under the chairmanship of Dioscorus, which restored Eutyches. For the atmosphere of brutal pressure and outright terror on the part of Dioscorus, this cathedral subsequently received the name of "robber." The Holy Queen Pulcheria (398–453), a supporter of the deposed Orthodox patriarch, St. Flavian of Constantinople (506–512), retired from the palace. Soon the intrigues of Chrysaphius opened and the emperor removed him, and again brought his sister Saint Pulcheria closer. Convened at the initiative of the new emperor Marcian (450–457) and his wife Saint Pulcheria IV, the Ecumenical Council in (451) condemned Eutyches as a heretic.

[79] Manichaeans (aconites) were followers of religious syncretic teachings, founded in Persia by the magician Mani (Manes; c. 216– c. 276). Manichaeism is the most influential of dualistic cults, uniting elements of Christianity and Chaldean-Babylonian, Persian beliefs (Zoroastrianism, Mazdeanism, Parsism) and based on the Gnostic teachings preceding it. The basis of Manichaeanism is the docetic doctrine of the ghostly body of Christ, a cumbersome tangled cosmogony with the doctrine of the primordial nature of evil, a view of matter as evil, and of man as the creation of the devil. The Manichaeans believed that the human soul is a particle of light captured by matter, therefore the purpose of life for them is the release of light (soul) from the captivity of matter through self-denial and austerity. Cult practice and their way of life were distinguished by severe asceticism: lack of public worship, absolute abstinence, and a ban on the use of wine and meat and the destruction of plants (farming was prohibited). Besides this, trade and all labor were not allowed, since there is an element of the power of darkness (matter) in it; it was impossible to have property. This heretical teaching spread widely from Rome to China and lasted until the VIII – XlI centuries, having experienced maximum flowering in the IV – V centuries. His ideas were repeatedly revived in subsequent religions, movements and heresies. It was persecuted by Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Islam. So, in 382, ​​St. Theodosius I the Great (379–395) issued a law against the Manichaeans, prescribing the death penalty and confiscation of property. However, Manichaean ideas turned out to be very tenacious - they were preserved in the folk sects of the Middle Ages: among the Pavlikians and Mondraki  in Armenia, among the Bogomils in Bulgaria, and among the Albigensians  in Western Europe. In the West, Manichaeism lasted until the VI century, and in the East, reaching into the Vll. It was finally banned in China in the XIV century. In the Uyghur kingdom from 763–840 it was a state religion. In the East, it was especially spread among the Sogdians and in their colonies in Xinjiang. (At one time Saint Augustine was in the ranks of the Manichaeans (354–430)).

[80] Saint Sava the Sanctified (439–532) was from a Cappadocian family.  He lived in a monastery under the guidance of the Monk Euthymius the Great (377–473) from his eigth year. In 484 he founded the famous Lavra near Jerusalem; thanks to him, Orthodox teaching triumphed in 517, despite the fact that Emperor Anastasius patronized Monophysitism (491–518). The saint also drew up a charter known as Jerusalem. The monk is called “Sanctified” because he was a hieromonk (in those days, rarely were any of the monks and abbots ordained to the priesthood). Saint Theodosius Kinoviarch (423 / 424–529) was also from Cappadocia, founded kinovia in Palestine, which attracted many ascetics (up to 700 monks, while the Monastery of St. Sava the Consecrated during its heyday in the 5th – 6th centuries numbered no more than 150 monks). Kinovia of St. Theodosius subsequently became a model of coenobitic monasteries. In the XVI century it was ravaged by the Turks, but at the end of the XIX century it was restored. The monastery is located west of the Monastery of St. Sava.

[81] It is a question of defending two frankly promonophysitic dissertations at the Faculty of FUA of the United States in 2002, in which heresiarch-monophysites, Patriarchs Dioscorus (444–451) and Severus (512–518) were whitewashed and declared Orthodox.

[82] Dioscorus I of Alexandria (444–451), the successor of St. Cyril (412–444) to the patriarchate, persecuted the relatives and employees of his predecessor and, on this basis, quarreled with the Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Flavian I (446–449), who supported the persecuted. He was an ardent defender of the heretic Eutyches (412–444) and a participant in the Monophysite turmoil. Eutyches was convicted of heresy at the Constantinople "home" council in 448 under the chairmanship of St. Flavian. Eutychianism was born from the extremes of the Alexandrian view, and Dioscorus, as a representative of the Alexandrian theological school, considered it necessary to take it under his protection in the fight against Antiochian christology. In addition, there was a struggle for hierarchical primacy - the bishops of Constantinople, as the metropolitan bishops, due to their proximity to the imperial court, had a great influence on church affairs and the primacy of honor among other bishops of the East. The Alexandrian Church, as more ancient, was entitled to claim the same primacy - this was manifested, for example, in the fact that the Bishop of Alexandria, Theophilos (385–412), once condemned the Archbishop of Constantinople, St. John Chrysostom (398–404), and St. Cyril (412 –444) condemned Nestorian (428–431). Therefore, some Alexandrian bishops competed with the bishops of Constantinople. The case of Eutyches for Dioscorus seemed a convenient occasion for intrigue against St. Flavian. Therefore, the Second Ephesian "robber" council was convened (449), at which Dioscorus was the chairman. With the help of the military detachments of Emperor Theodosius II (408–450) and fanatical monks, he began to committ violence against bishops-diophysites and achieved the removal of the patriarch Saint Flavian; Eutyches was also justified. However, St. Leo I (440–461) assembled a cathedral in Rome, condemning Dioscorus and Eutyches and the “robber” council itself. Meanwhile, the emperor died (450) and the throne was occupied by Marcian (450–457), who married Saint Pulcheria (398–453), the sister of Theodosius. By order of the new king, the Fourth Ecumenical Council was convened (451), at which the "robber" cathedral was condemned, and Dioscorus was cast out of the dignity. The motivation for his deposition was purely disciplinary - no charges of heresy were brought against him, as the moral rule required him to be able to justify himself, and he did not appear for trial, ignoring the three calls to the council. But even canonical crimes were enough to deprive him of his dignity - for the untruths and violence that he resorted to at the "robber" council, Dioscorus was deposed and exiled; he died in exile in 464.

[83] During the reign of Emperor Anastasius (491–518), one of the most ardent opponents of the Council of Chalcedon was Severus of Antioch (512–518), the founder of the heresy of Severianism. Having founded his own monastery, he was ordained a priest by the Monophysite bishop Epiphanius, who had been expelled by the Orthodox from his diocese. During the years of the oppression of the Mayomite monophysite monks by the Jerusalem patriarch Elijah II (494-517), Severus and about two hundred of his monks moved to Constantinople, where they gathered around the Monophysites in the capital. Recognizing the universal significance of the "robber" council (449), considering its chairman Dioscoros (444–451) to be the same sort of teacher of the Church as Saint Cyril of Alexandria (412–444), Severus expressed other heretical opinions. The teachings of Severus were generally monophysitic, although they avoided the extreme judgments of Monophysitism. Patriarch of Jerusalem John III (517–524) anathematized Severus; Emperor Justin I (518–527) deprived him of the episcopal chair and sent him into exile. Despite this, thanks to the influence of the Holy Queen Theodora (500-548), he was a member of the local Council of Constantinople in 536, where he represented the Monophysites. At the council, charges of heresy were brought against him and, despite the support of the Monophysite opposition, Severus was convicted and anathematized with other heretical Nonophysites. Soon, according to the imperial decree, he was again sent into exile in Egypt, where he died (543).

[84] The Venerable Simeon the New Theologian (949-1037), for twenty years, labored in the Studios Monastery under the direction of an elder, the Venerable Simeon the Reverent. Then he was chosen to be abbot of the monastery of St. Mamont in Constantinople and ordained to the rank of presbyter. Due to the special veneration of his late elder, he was removed from Constantinople and spent the last thirteen years of his life in the monastery he founded. A special part of his creative heritage is composed of hymns - spiritual verses that capture the personal experience of mystical communication with God. The "Philosophy of Love" includes his "Heads active and theological." Saint Simeon is considered the founder of the doctrine of the heavenly illumination of the souls of ascetics, which later became known as Hesychasm. The church called the saint the New Theologian, finding in his writings similarities with the writings of St. Gregory the Theologian (381). The life of St. Simeon was described in detail by his disciple, the Monk Nikitas Stithatos (1005-1090).

[85] Saint Mark of Ephesus (1392 / 93–1444 / 45) was born, educated, lived most of his life, and died in Constantinople. He became a monk in 1418. On the eve of his departure to Ferrara, as part of the Orthodox delegation to participate in the Ferraro-Florentine Cathedral, he was ordained against his will as Metropolitan of Ephesus (1437). Initially believing in the possibility of restoring the unity of the Church, he soon realized the failure of this enterprise and with all his might tried to prevent the conclusion of the shameful union leading to the betrayal of Orthodoxy. In Florence, he was the only hierarch who did not sign the union. Upon his return to Constantinople, the saint continued to struggle against the union. Refusing to accept the patriarchate, he secretly left the capital and went to Ephesus, which was under the Ottomans, to support his flock. Without permission from the Turkish authorities, he could not stay here for a long time and therefore soon went to Mount Athos. However, on the way there, on Lake Lemnos, by order of the emperor, the saint was arrested and detained (1440-1442). After his second attempt to get to the Holy Mountain, he returned to Constantinople, where he lived the last two years of his life. 

[86] The Venerable John Climacus of Sinai (Sinaite) (525– c. 600) was a hermit monk; and towards the end of his life he became abbot of the monastery on Mount Sinai. He was the author of a wonderful spiritual work, the ascetic-didactic treatise, “The Ladderof Divine Ascent,” for which he was nicknamed Climacus. This is a practical guide for those seeking salvation - in the form of a gradual climb of a ladder of thirty steps, the struggle with vices and passions is described and the virtues that lead to God are described; it experimentally shows that spiritual perfection requires, firstly, cleansing from the sinful impurity of the old man; secondly, the restoration of the image of God. The purpose of this work is to teach that the achievement of salvation requires considerable selflessness and enhanced deeds from a person.

[87] The Venerable Nikitas Stithatos, or Pectorate (c. 1005–1090), left for a monastery at the age of fourteen. Then he was a hieromonk in the Studion monastery of Constantinople, and later became the abbot of this monastery. He was the court writer and supporter of Patriarch Mikhail Kerullarius (1043–1058), when he broke with Rome in 1054. His treatise against the Latins (exposing unleavened bread, fasting on Saturday and celibacy of priests) is of great historical significance. He compiled commentaries on Pseudo-Dionysius.

[88] Kinoviya (Greek for community) is a monastery built on the basis of communal principles. It is one of the two main forms of monastic life, in which the monks are united in a monastic community and led by a spiritual mentor (the abbot), elected by the brethren in the form of an elder's council, and they observe a certain charter that regulates the daily routine, worship, food, clothing and activities of brothers. The first kinovii were established in Tavennis (Upper Egypt) by the Monk Pachomius the Great (290 / 292–346), which marked the beginning of the monastery, giving the monks the first charter which, according to legend, an angel had given him. Together with the charter of St. Basil the Great (330–378), he laid the foundation for the ceonobitic system of Orthodox monasticism, being a model for all subsequent typicons. Another type of monasticism is idiorhythmic, when each monk lives in a separate cell, and takes care of his own food. There is no general obedience and there is no uniformity in clothing. Inhabitants run their own households, own private property and dispose of it at their discretion. The only things common in idiorhythmic monasteries are the cemetery and the church where monks gather on feast and Sundays. The abbot of idiorhythmic monasteries is elected by voting, but only for one year; the power of the abbots extends only to the arrangement of churches and the material support of the monks. In everything else the abbot is considered to be the same as the other monks. Disagreements in idiorhythmic monasteries are resolved by the advice of the elders. In general, the way of life in idiorhythmic monasteries is less strict than in ceonobitic monasteries

[89] The Venerable Athanasius of Paris (1721 / 22–1813) hails from the island of Paros. After graduating from the Athos Theological School (Athoniad), he stayed in it as a teacher. Then he continued his teaching activities in several educational institutions, until in 1771 the Patriarch of Constantinople Theodosius II (1769–1773) appointed him rector of the Athonyada. Then he was ordained a priest. On the Holy Mountain, the Venerable Athanasius took an active part in the Kollivad movement for the renewal and revival of church life: as heirs of the Hesychasts of the 14th century, their goal was to return to the patristic tradition, and the tradition of clever work was their source. For this, after some time he was expelled from Athos. However, thanks to his authority on education, he was allowed to teach. Later, Patriarch Gabriel IV (1780–1784) asked the saint to become the rector of the Patriarchal School of Constantinople - the most authoritative Greek educational institution at that time; then he was offered a bishopric. He refused both offers. The peak of his writing belongs to this period. Rev. Athanasius ended his life in the monastery of St. George Revston in his homeland. In 1994, he was counted among the saints by the Church of Greece.

[90] The Ferraro-Florentine Cathedral (1438–1439) was convened at the initiative of Emperor John VII Paleologue (1425–1448) and Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) as an attempt to reunite the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in order to bring Byzantium and the West closer together in the face of a common Turkish threat. Meetings of the council to discuss the union were opened in Ferrara on April 9, 1438. The pope, cardinals, Latin bishops, as well as the emperor, Patriarch of Constantinople Joseph II (1416–1439), authorized by the eastern patriarchs and several Greek bishops, Metropolitan Isidore of Kiev attended the council (later he converted to Catholicism and became a cardinal), Suzdal Bishop Abraham with 200 other clergy and secular persons. Of the Western sovereigns, no one came. Due to the plague in 1439, the council was moved to Florence. Catholics demanded that the Orthodox fully accept Latin teachings and administrative subordination to the Vatican, allowing only some independence in the field of worship and rituals. In return, the pope promised to organize a Crusade against the Turks, which would pass through Constantinople, to take on the costs of returning the Greek delegates, as well as provide military assistance to defend Constantinople. After long discussions, under the pressure of the Catholics, all the points presented by them as the conditions for signing the union were accepted by the Orthodox side - the dogma of Filioque and the legality of its addition to the Creed, the ability to celebrate the Eucharist on unleavened bread, the doctrine of purgatory, and the primacy of the pope. On June 5, 1439, a council ruling was signed, which only Saint Mark of Ephesus (1392 / 93–1444 / 45) did not sign, but for the pope this meant that they had achieved nothing. Returning to Constantinople, the king in the person of the people and ordinary clergy faced a strong opposition, united around St. Mark. The patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were also against the union. Having not received the promised help from the West, the emperor cooled towards it. In Russia, supporters of the union were also not accepted.

[91] Saint Photius I the Great (c. 820–891) was Patriarch of Constantinople (858–867 and 877–886), the largest figure of Byzantium of the 9th century. The children of Basil I (867–886) studied with him: Constantine, heir to the throne, Leo VI the Wise (886–912), Alexander, and Stefan. The future enlightener and saint Cyril († 869) was also a disciple of the saint. The Bulgarian Tsar Boris was believed to be baptized by the bishop Photius himself, who sent the archbishop and priests there for the baptism of the Bulgarian people (c. 863/5). Becoming an archpastor, St. Photius contributed to the spread of the influence of the Byzantine Church on the Slavic peoples in Bulgaria, Moravia and Russia, which led in 867 to a conflict with the Roman throne and anathema to Pope Nicholas (858–867). Under Saint Photius, the so-called “First Baptism of Rus” occurred, possibly by the very saints Cyril and Methodius († 885), when the princes Oskold (Askold) and Deer, with elders and part of the people, were baptized (c. 860) in Kiev. Soon after this, the saint sent Metropolitan Michael and six bishops to Russia. In 857, the co-ruler of Tsar Mikhail (856–867), Ward, removed from the capital’s department the objectionable Patriarch Ignatius (847–858 and 867–877). The universally recognized scholarship of St. Photius, his kinship with St. Tarasius (784–806) and the royal house contributed to the fact that he was elected patriarch, having gone through all the degrees of the hierarchical ladder in six days (like the saints Tarasius and Nikifor (806–815)). Soon the troubles started, kindled by the former patriarch. To stop them in 861, a council was convened in Constantinople, at which St. Photius was confirmed by the patriarch and the deposition of Ignatius was confirmed. Pope Nicholas I (858–867), whose ambassadors were present at the council, asserting Saint Photius as patriarch, hoped to subordinate him to his authority, but, not receiving what was expected, at the council in Rome (863) he anathematized him. St. Photius was convicted by the murderer Basil I of Macedonia (867–886) of an illegealy ascending to the patriarchal throne. He did not allow him to celebrate the Holy Mysteries and he was removed from the pulpit and imprisoned in a monastery. Ignatius was again put in his place. The Council of Constantinople (869), convened for the trial of St. Photius, was held with the participation of papal legates. Having no grounds for condemnation, the council nevertheless anathematized Saint Photius, sending him to the monastery for seven years. After the death of Ignatius († 877), shortly before reconciling with the saint, a new Council was convened in Constantinople in 879 (called the VIII Ecumenical Council by many fathers of the Church), which restored Patriarch Photius to the pulpit. Pope John VIII (872–882), not recognizing this decision, again excommunicated him from the Church (881). Under the successor of Emperor Basil, Leo VI (886–912), Saint Photius was forced to leave the diocese in favor of the sixteen-year-old brother of the emperor, Stephen I (886–893). Deposed a second time, he retired to the monastery, where he died. He is known as a learned theologian who left numerous and varied works devoted to exposing the errors of the Latins, refuting various heresies, clarifying the Scriptures, and revealing various objects of faith. On the initiative of St. Photius and with his direct participation, the “Miriobiblion” (Library) was compiled — commentaries on the manuscripts of 279 ancient authors in the capital’s library, with extensive extracts from the originals of the monuments — later completely or partially lost. To facilitate the reading of ancient, especially classical writers, as well as Scripture, a Dictionary was compiled under the editorship of Photius.

[92] Consensus patrum (Latin) is the Orthodox criterion for the truth of a doctrine, known as the “consent of the fathers” and borrowed from Western theological science. Itapplies to those aspects of Orthodox teaching that have not received their dogmatic definitions at Ecumenical Councils. The Consensus patrum is no lower in authority than these Councils, for the fathers present at them themselves refer and verify their decisions on it, starting their dogmatic definitions with the words: “Following the Holy Fathers”, expressing their conviction that loyalty to them in spirit is the main sign Orthodox theology. According to the expression of the Venerable Vincent of Lerins, († c. 450), consensus patrum is “that which was believed everywhere, always and by all” (Commonitorium). Unlike the theolgumen (the term was introduced by V.V. Bolotov (1853–1900) to refer to the so-called private theological opinion, which the whole Church may not agree with), such a coordinated opinion of the Holy Fathers is accepted by the whole Church and is part of Holy Tradition.

[93] Lemnos is a volcanic island in the northern Aegean.

[94] Mitrophan II (1440–1443) was the first after the signing of the union with the Catholics to be the 'Latin' patriarch of Constantinople. After the death of Patriarch Joseph II (1416–1439), Emperor John VIII (1425–1448) first offered this place to Anthony, Metropolitan of Irakli, then St. Mark of Ephesus (1392 / 93–1444 / 45), but both hierarchs refused, because the patriarchal ministry under the circumstances, meant agreement with the union and its implementation. This dignity was accepted by Metropolitan Kizichesky Mitrophan, who was already in deep old age. Although he was one of the signatories of the union, at the Cathedral in Florence Mitrophan never stood out as a supporter of the council. However, under him there was a promulgation (solemn promulgation) of the union (1440). He soon left the throne. In 1443, three patriarchs - Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem published a conciliar message in which Mitrophan was condemned.

[95] Gregory III Melissin (Mammy, or Mamma) as a protosingel of the patriarch participated in the activities of the Ferraro-Florentine Cathedral, defending the need for the adoption of the church union and, ultimately, facilitating its adoption. He was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople (1443 / 5-1450). Under the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XII (1448–1453) at the council in the church of St. Sophia in 1450, in the presence of three eastern patriarchs, Gregory, as a Uniate, was deposed. After the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, he became the "Latin" patriarch of Constantinople (since 1454). He died in Rome (1459). In defense of the union, he wrote several essays: “Apology against the confession of Mark of Ephesus” and “Reply to the district message of the same Mark.”

[96] Schism (from the Greek. Splitting, schism, strife) is a term denoting a split in the Church.

[97] We are talking about the Patriarch of Gregory III of Constantinople (1443 / 5–1450), who, being a protosingel, was present at the Ferraro-Florentine Cathedral and, together with others, signed a union with the Catholics. [Protosingel is an assistant to the patriarch or bishop, in most cases, their successor to the pulpit.]

[98] That is, with those who signed the union at some time.

[99] Equal-to-the-Apostles Holy Martyr Cosmas of Aetola (1714–1779; Comm. 11/24 Aug.) was one of the spiritual leaders of Greece during the Ottoman rule. He was originally from the region of Aetolia (in central Greece, north of the Peloponnese). He graduated from the Athos Theological School and was tonsured on Mount Athos in the monastery of Philotheus. Being ordaineda priest, he conducted active preaching work, for which he received a martyr's death. On April 20, 1961, he was canonized by the Church of Constantinople.

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