Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye — a leading bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church — has written this letter of warning to the monks of Mount Athos. He says the Patriarch of Constantinople "has transformed into an apostle of satan and a loyal subject of the devil".
Editor's Note: Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye has written an open letter to the monks on Mount Athos. Remembering that Athos is one of the most sacred holy places for Orthodox Christians, he references Patriarch Bartholomew's upcoming visit there, warning the monks that friendship with Bartholomew is like friendship with Judas Iscariot.
Fr. Zechariah Lynch has provided us with an English translation of this letter:
Christ is in our midst! My dear readers!
An open letter to the Monastics of the Holy Mountain of Athos:
Brothers in Christ, dear and beloved to my heart!
Today God attends to us in tribulations, in which we must manifest steadfastness in our faith and unbending faithfulness to the holy canons of our Mother Church.
On October 19th, “patriarch” Bartholomew, who has defiled his heart and his hands with betrayal of God and the breaking of His holy commandments, is due to visit Athos.
Thanks to the actions of this person, our holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church is covered in blood and tears. Priests and parishioners are beaten, churches are closed, and the media pours dirt and slander on us. We thank God that He has provided us the opportunity to manifest our faithfulness to His Word and to follow His will.
We ask you to stand in solidarity with us in this faithfulness to Christ and the canons of the Orthodox Church!
Those who are standing in true faith, we beseech you to be steadfast in your belief; do not succumb to any kind of persuasions and do not fear any threat, for God is with us!
I tell you this with full responsibility for my words before God and His Holy Ecumenical and Apostolic Church: Whoever in the name of “obedience” is ready to follow the call of a wolf in sheep's clothing, you are thereby betraying Christ!
No father or good pastor would come to you with exhortation to recognize the schismatic-nationalistic group as the canonical church – only a thief and a robber would do this. Such a person is not a bearer of the “image of meekness,” but rather a successor of the spirit and a continuator of the works of Nestorius, Sergei I, and the other heresiarchs: John XI Vekka, Meletios IV Metaxakis, and Athenagoras Spyrou – these, like him (Bartholomew), are servants of the enemy of the human race.
The evil minded Mr. Bartholomew has not only lost the right to be called Patriarch — he has lost the right even to be called an Orthodox Christian.
The declaration that some of you (on Mt. Athos) are ready to recognize as legitimate the actions of this person (Bartholomew) – which includes the reception of unrepentant sinners into the Body of the Church – only so that you may continue your monastic life on the Holy Mountain, calls forth deep sorrow. With tears I ask you, consider – are thirty pieces of silver comfort worth the betrayal of your faith? In reality, are not common fear, cowardice, and betrayal hiding themselves behind the word “obedience?” Will your prayers and podvigs, bought at such a price, even be pleasing to God?
The price of such betrayal will be a reservation for a seat at the Last Judgment next to Judas and those who tortured and crucified our Lord.
Our Church is already paying for this betrayal with blood and pain. Do you want to be convicted together with our executioners? Or, maybe, it is altogether better to suffer here for Christ, so as to be glorified with Him (cf. Rom. 8:17)?
Those of you who have decided, “if Patriarch Bartholomew comes with the Ukrainian schismatics, then we will receive him but not the schismatics,” consider this — who has the greater guilt: the child, or the mother who gave him birth and raised him?
We know of the inevitable terribleness of the times, and the trials that we are now passing through are not the most terrible. If we are not able to be steadfast in them, then how will we withstand those which will be sent in the future?
Answering for every word of mine before God, I am convinced that Mr. Archondonis (Bartholomew) is a person whom the devil has struck with a terrible sickness – pride, and through this has made him his weapon.
His task is to divide the Church, sow enmity, bring confusion, ruin those who are weak in the faith, shake those who doubt, bring confusion to the mind, and stir up temptation. From a patriarch he has transformed into an apostle of satan and a loyal subject of the devil!
My dear and beloved brothers in Christ, I ask you together with the apostles – guard the faith and keep yourselves from idols (cf. 1 Jn. 5:21)!
I ask your holy prayers for my unworthiness!
The most sinful, Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol.
This letter was translated from the original Russian by Fr. Zechariah Lynch.