Consider this sobering message written by St. Luke of Crimea:
Even 2000 years ago during the times of the apostles, many false teachers appeared, and their number multiplied and multiplied over the centuries. Heretics rose up, distorting the holy Orthodox faith, introducing their wicked changes into the Creed, teaching falsely about the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many followed their wickedness, and many died an eternal death.
All this was predicted by the holy apostles. This is what the apostle Peter says in his second conciliar epistle:
There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies. Denying the Lord who bought them, they will bring swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their depravity, and through them the way of truth will be reproached (2 Pet. 2:1-2).
Also the holy apostle Paul warned the Ephesian Christians:
I know that after I am gone, fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among yourselves men will arise who will speak perverse things, so as to draw away disciples after themselves (Acts 20:29-30).
Even then, in ancient apostolic times, divisions began in the Church of Christ, but our Lord Jesus Christ Himself said that His holy Church should be one: "And there will be one flock and one Shepherd" (John 10:14-16). And in His High Priestly Prayer He cried out to His Father: Let them all be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, so may they also be one in Us (John 17:10-21).
The Lord taught about the unity of the Church, He himself being its Head and Shepherd. All kinds of false teachers and heretics, like predatory wolves, have always sought to separate themselves from Christ and plunder part of His flock, in a thirst for power and honor from the world. They torment and bite the Church of Christ. In 1054, due to the claim of the popes to undivided dominance in the Church, which they wanted to rule individually, the Western — that is, the Catholic Church — separated from the Eastern, Orthodox Church, to which we belong. The holy apostles never practiced unity of command in the Church: the Church was governed by Councils, and no one called himself the vicar of Christ on earth. The Orthodox did everything to prevent division, but the Lord allowed it to happen.
In the 15th century, a new schismatic, Martin Luther, arose, who subjected the entire teaching of the Church to daring, self-willed criticism and completely remade it, as it seemed necessary to him. And a new one arose, which had already completely broken the continuity with the apostles, the Lutheran heresy (Protestantism). And then began the constant and non-stop division of Protestantism into many schisms and sects, for Luther gave all his followers the full right to interpret the Bible as they themselves see fit.
Such interpretation, without the guidance of God-appointed pastors of the Church, inevitably became misinterpretation. Everyone understood the Bible the way he wanted, the way his lack of education and weakness of mind told him. And now Protestants have a huge number of sects.
But, to our great grief, the influence of these Protestant heresies and sects penetrated into our Church. There were many among our people who left the faith of their fathers and followed the Protestant sectarians. This is how Stundists, Baptists, and many other sects arose among us.
Ignorant people, not confirmed in the truth, go to sects, and they create their own teaching, being imbued with the most serious vice, the most serious sin - the satanic sin of pride. They dare to boldly criticize what was established by the Ecumenical Councils, what was prescribed by the holy apostles, what the Orthodox Church teaches. They absurdly and ignorantly subject the entire Bible, the entire New Testament to destructive criticism, selecting from the Holy Scriptures only that which flatters their vanity and pride, and discarding everything that contradicts their preconceived opinions.
Pride and deep ignorance lie at the root of sectarianism. Everyone must remember this firmly. Sectarianism has degenerated in our country into wild, absurd forms, outrageous in their stupidity and in their daring denial of all Christian teaching; some of them are embarrassing to even talk about.
There are many sectarians who reject the Divinity of Jesus Christ. To the shame of the Russian people, there were people among them who, having forgotten their entire past, all the centuries-old national foundations, and their Orthodox faith, began to profess the Jewish faith, for there are a number of Judaizing sects that observe the entire law of Moses and honor all Jewish holidays, subject themselves and their children to circumcision, and become Russian Jews. This is what absurdity some sectarians reach.
The Holy Apostle Peter in his Second Catholic Epistle said: The ignorant and unstable transform Paul’s writings to their own destruction, like they do with other scriptures (2 Pet. 3:16).
And here are the words of the holy Apostle Paul: How can they preach if they are not sent (Rom. 10:15)? Servants of the Church, bishops and priests, are sent to preach: priests are sent by bishops, and bishops received this power from the apostles, and the Lord Himself commanded the apostles to shepherd His flock: He who listens to you listens to Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me (Luke 10:16).
These words directly apply to sectarians who do not listen to the ministers of the Church, and thus reject the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and the Father who sent Him. Having renounced the Divine Truth, sectarians trampled on the commandments of God, rejected the Sacraments of the Church, and arrogated to themselves the right to preach. How and what will they preach if they are not sent?
There is no more grave sin than schism and division in the Church of Christ. This is what all the great saints said. I will quote the words of the hieromartyr, St. Cyprian:
“People who do not maintain union and close communion with the Church, even if they gave themselves up to death for confessing the name of Christ, their sin will not be washed away even by blood itself: the indelible and grave guilt of division is not cleansed even by blood.”
And another hieromartyr, St. Ignatius the God-Bearer, said this:
“Do not be deceived, brothers, whoever follows the one who causes the schism will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
You see what a terrible sin is schism and sectarianism, how terrible it is to deviate from the Church of Christ and follow the heretics. The holy apostles warned us about this many times. In the Epistle to the Romans St. Paul says: I beseech you, brethren, beware of those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them (Rom. 16:17).
The Lord Jesus Christ said: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15).
Know, people of God, that sectarians are hypocritical, that they come wearing the guise of love and humility. They are extremely cunning: they subtly flatter your ears, pretend to be saints, captivate you with “love”, attention to you, lure you into their networks, and in these networks you will perish.
The Holy Apostle Paul in his Epistles to the Thessalonians and Galatians calls: Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you have been taught either by word or by our epistle (2 Thess. 2:15). But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel different from what we preached, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:8).
The Apostle Paul anathematizes all those who are members of sects who seduce people with their false teachings. And following his words, the Holy Church on the day of the Triumph of Orthodoxy anathematizes all heretics, all those who do not recognize the Ecumenical Councils and Holy Tradition. Remember and know that if someone seduces you and entices you into sectarianism, then you are subject to anathema, eternal damnation. What could be worse? I don't know. I can only beg you, as the holy apostle Paul begged. Beware of these predators, beware of those who cause schisms, never go to their meetings, otherwise you will be poisoned by their poison. Fear like fire any communication with heretics, with sectarians. Hold on to the faith that the Holy Church teaches us - the gospel faith, the faith of Christ, the apostolic faith, and the Lord Jesus Christ will save you. Amen.
Take action! Resist the assault from the rainbow mafia:Russian Faith Website Attacked by Pro-LGBT Megacorporation - Help Us Fight Back! Who works for Russian Faith? Click to see our photos:Meet the Team - Russian Faith in Seven Languages!