Bishop Gregory (hgr) wrote,
Bishop Gregory

И еще об истинном православии

В Волгограде меня спросили о какой-то книжке какого-то о. Парфения Афонского, которую недавно издали по-русски. Разумеется, я ничего не знал, а имя автора помнил очень смутно. Теперь вспомнил хорошо: он -- один из лидеров "ново-афонской богословской школы": эта школа родилась в конце 60-х на волне афонского "возрождения", когда новые силы пришли в умиравшие монастыри. Главной ее задачей стало примирить традиционный для Афона консерватизм с совершенно отвязанной (после 1965 г.) политикой Константинопольских патриархов. А сейчас мне попалось (в пер. на англ.) письмо старца Саввы, который порвал с этой компанией после 1987 г. Там и об о. Парфении, и вообще очень ярко о новейшей истории Афона.

UPDATE: это письмо есть уже и в русском пер., правда, с болгарского -- о. Димитрий побеспокоился:

кому милее русский, дальше под лже-катом можно не читать.

[Forwarded from:
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 08:42:47 -0500
Reply-To: Orthodox Christianity <>
Sender: Orthodox Christianity <>
From: John Lamberes <>
Subject: Esphigmenou ]

The respected Elder, Father Sabbas, had followed the policy of the nineteen
ruling monasteries of Mount Athos, which believed, as do many people, that
we must make certain concessions and accommodations in matters of Faith for
a period of time.

Since he was virtuous, with a sincere and good intention, the fathers who
have only recently come to Mount Athos - the so-called New Holy Mountain
Fathers - who hold communion with Ecumenists and commemorate the Ecumenical
Patriarchate, would visit the Elder frequently. They would hold him up as
an example to their disciples and would say that if the zealot dissent and
protest were good, would not the virtuous Father Sabbas belong to it?

However, when the Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios concelebrated with the
Pope of Rome in December of 1987, the Elder roused himself; his soul could
not bear to be found in such a blatantly Ecumenistic Church. Along with
other ascetics, he protested and separated himself from all the other
fathers of Mount Athos who followed the nineteen monasteries. He would not
go to church in any of those nineteen or in any of the cells or
dependencies which followed them.

All the commemorators were in an uproar; from monastery and cell, many ran
to persuade the Elder. But the frequent visits, which became burdensome,
were to no avail.

Finally, the Elder was obliged to answer in writing one monk who troubled
him frequently, thereby answering all the others troubling him, for they
were well-organized and committed to using every means to draw the Elder
out of Orthodoxy into the embrace of hellish Ecumenism.

Below is the text of the Elder's letter:

The Cell of Saint Nicholas, Kapsala,
Karyes, Mount Athos August 13, 1991

Dear Father Nicodemus,


During your visit to our cell a few days ago, you repeated your
un-Orthodox dogmatic pronouncements that we are outside the Church because
we do not commemorate Patriarch Demetrios. You also made some other
statements as well, for which cause we feel constrained to write the
following for your fuller instruction, since the evidence and refutations
we tendered during our conversation destroyed your peace and made you

In the Sayings of the Desert Fathers it is written that when Abba
Agatho was asked if he were proud, a fornicator, and a heretic, he answered
that he confirmed the first two accusations, for it was profitable for his
soul to do so, but not that he was a heretic, for that signifies separation
from God. 1

According to you (and according to all the monasteries of Mount
Athos as well, except for the Monastery of Esphigmenou, the Skete of
Prophet Elias, and many zealot Fathers), we are deceived and are
schismatics. You find it difficult to admit that the Patriarchate of
Constantinople is preaching heresy, because you would be required to admit
that your holding communion with these wolves and not shepherds is worthy
of condemnation, or you would have to cease following them, according to
the command of all the Holy Fathers and Councils.

You attempt to justify the Phanar, but their words and actions
show you to be in error. In vain do you invoke the opinion of Father
Paisios and of others who are indulgent with present conditions and make
concessions, that is, they deal with it by "economy," but when the time
comes (supposedly when Demetrios shall enter into communion with the Pope,
as you said), you will separate yourselves from whatever is not in concord
with the teachings of the Holy Fathers and Councils. You greatly deceive

As for the admonitions to which you refer - whether of Elder
Paisios, or of your neighbor papa-Isaac, or of anyone else - which maintain
that Demetrios rightly divides the word of truth, how can you expect us to
accept them as being pleasing to God when they are clean contrary to
Orthodox teaching? Since the Truth is betrayed, should it not be called
iniquity rather than economy, concession, accommodation, or indulgence? You
maintain your stand because Elder Paisius said, "Demetrios is misled by the
hierarchs around him to do that which he does not want," and "If we stop
commemorating [the Patriarch] we will be outside the Church!" and much
more, to which can be applied the words of Saint John Chrysostom, "All
their words are foolishness, and the tales of foolish children." These
words of theirs are the fruit of a new theology, which the Phanar used in
the notorious Encyclical of 1920 by calling heretics "fellow heirs of the
grace of God."

You bring forward the words of Saint John Chrysostom, "Not even
the blood of martyrdom blots out schism," and of Saint Ignatius the God-
bearer, "Let nothing be enacted without the bishop." You conclude that when
we separate ourselves from our bishop, we are outside the Church.

The Saints made these true pronouncements, however, in a time of
Orthodoxy and Church serenity. Today, when the hurricane of the Ecumenist
pan-heresy sweeps away even the elect, the words of the same Saints have
force. "If your bishop be heretical, flee, flee, flee as from fire and a
serpent" (Saint John Chrysostom). "If thy bishop should teach any thing
outside of the appointed order, even if he lives in chastity, or if he work
signs, or if he prophecy, let him be unto thee as a wolf in sheep's
clothing, for he works the destruction of souls" (Saint Ignatius). If
Demetrios rightly divided the word of truth, you would have been justified
in your use of those quotations you took from the two Saints; but now you
edit the Fathers' writings to your taste, in order to justify your guilt
for being a fellow-traveler of Demetrios, Parthenios of Alexandria, Iakovos
of America, Stylianos Harkianakis of Australia. Are all the many quotations
from the holy Councils and Saints not enough for you? Or do you fear,
perhaps, being cast out of the synagogue of the heretics? The fact that the
other patriarchates hold communion with the Phanar is not really important.
What is important is, who follows in the footsteps of the Saints and is
with the Truth? Parthenios, Patriarch of Alexandria, said that he
recognizes Mohammed as an Apostle who worked for the Kingdom of God, and
other such blasphemies which you know. There is no need for us to write
again the heresies of Iakovos Koukouzis of America, and Stylianos
Harkianakis of Australia. You are in communion with these men as though
they supposedly rightly divided the word of truth! Who is going to condemn
Iakovos Koukouzis? Parthenios? or the committee of Phanariotes under
Bartholomew which has been "investigating" for two years now whether
Harkianakis is a heretic?2 Do you not understand that they do not want to
pronounce a verdict?

The Phanar promised the delegation of three abbots from Mount
Athos that they would retract and correct Patriarch Demetrios' statement to
United Press about receiving communion from the Latins, that they would
replace Stylianos Harkianakis as president of the commission for
theological dialogue, etc. Has anything been corrected to this day? Or do
you believe that we have no responsibility, or guilt, and may remain in
communion because Elder Paisius shamelessly says that the declarations and
actions of Demetrios are not contrary to our doctrines and do not violate
the truth?

History repeats itself. Saint Theodore the Studite, Saint Maximus
the Confessor, and many of the other Christians who did not follow the
hierarchy which at sundry times preached heresy, were all called
schismatics by that hierarchy. Although Saint Gerasimus of the Jordan was
served by a lion and was a wonderworker, he was in error because he would
not accept the Fourth Ecumenical Council, drawing along with him thousands
of monks in Palestine, until he was corrected by Saint Euthymius the Great
and repented.

You ask, "Could Elder Paisios and the seventy bishops of the State
Church of Greece be in error?"

Do you want God to force them to confess Him? At the Iconoclast
Council of 754 in the reign of Copronymos, we read in the minutes that
fearsome acclamation of the 338 bishops present at the council, "Long live
the King! The icons are idols and should either be destroyed or hung high
so that they might not be venerated." Do you find it hard to believe that
seventy bishops can be deceived today, when, as you see, so many were
deceived then? Nowadays, monks desire to gain mitres, abbatial staves,
while observing only a nominal confession of Faith N that is, protesting
somewhat, but not stopping the commemoration of the Patriarch, and
tolerating all the innovations to the Gospel introduced by Demetrios,
Iakovos, Parthenius, and those like them. Saint Theodore the Studite,
however, writes that the work of the monk is not to tolerate the even the
least innovation in the Gospel of Christ.

At the concelebration in Rome, Demetrios did not receive the host
from the Pope in order to avoid hostile reactions from "conservatives." How
ever, there in Rome, he did subscribe to the doctrine that the Latins
possess the Mysteries of the Church, and he continues to do so. Is that not
enough? When did the Saints and Christians of any century in which a heresy
was widely preached ever react as do you, who continue to commemorate
Demetrios? What precedent have you found in the history of the Church so
you can say you are following it? If you are sons of the Saints (that is,
imitators and followers of the Saints), "Ye would have done the works of
Abraham" as the Gospel says. In the time of Patriarch Beccos, the fathers
of Mount Athos stopped commemorating him even though he had not been
deposed by a Council; and because they remained steadfast in their
adherence to the precepts of the Fathers (that is, had no communion with
those who departed from the Orthodox Faith), Christ granted them the
Martyr's crown. As for those who concelebrated with the commemorators of
the Latin-minded "official" patriarch, Beccos, their corpses are found to
this day, as is well known, swollen, stinking, and undecomposed, to be an
example to all.

You told us that if Demetrios does not go to confession for the
things he has done, he will be damned. You are now admitting that you are
following a man who is damning himself by what he is doing. For him to be
damning himself [and indeed, for matters pertaining to the Faith and not
personal and private sins] means that he is doing the work of the Devil.
Consequently, you yourself admit that you have the Devil as a fellow-

Are you serious, Father Nicodemos, or are you jesting? If
Athenagoras had "repented" and confessed his sin shortly before he died,
then would he be saved?3 Show me even one patristic witness which justifies
remaining in a Church that preaches heresy, as does that of the "meek and
quiet Leader of Orthodoxy, Demetrios." Would such an obedience to a
hierarchy that does not rightly divide the word of truth sanctify us? If
you do not wish to admit that the Monastery of Esphigmenou and so many
zealot Fathers are worthy of honor - according to the Fifteenth Canon of
the First-and-Second-Council - at least be silent and do not blaspheme by
saying that they are schismatics and outside the Church. You ignore the
existence of the Testament of Saint Mark Eugenicos of Ephesus, who did not
want the Latin-minded even to come to his funeral.

First study and then make pronouncements. According to your way of
thinking, both Saint Mark of Ephesus, Saint Maximus the Confessor, and
hosts of others who did not hold communion with heretics are outside the

Do you see where your "new theology" leads? Who would ever have
thought that fathers of the Holy Mountain would have as their bible the
book The Two Extremes by Father Epiphanios Theodoropoulos? You recommend
making protests like those recommended on pages 19 and 22 of that
book, "for Sacred Canons which are not applicable in our times because they
are lacking in love." He also describes Athenagoras as "having a demonic
love." Nevertheless, he remained in communion with those who have "a
demonic love." Marvelous consistency!

We saw similar protests on the occasion when the representative of
the Monastery of Grigoriou asked that it be recorded in the decisions of
the Sacred Community that if the chief secretary were sent to Australia, he
would not concelebrate there. The chief secretary finally did not go; but
Father Basil, Abbot of Stavronikita, ignoring the decision of all the other
monasteries, sent Father Tychon to "help" Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis.
When Father Tychon returned, he was sent to the festival of the Cell of
Bourazeri. There the representative of the Monastery of Grigoriou (Father
Athanasios) concelebrated with Father Tychon and the rest. No commentary is

Father Epiphanios Theodoropoulos was silenced when they refuted
his errors some twenty years ago. But you, with the same untheological
arguments, want to justify your communion with patriarchs who preach
heresies "with bared head," having a demonic love for heretics while
persecuting the genuinely Orthodox, and so emulating Patriarch Beccos, the
Emperor Copronymos, and all those like them. When you chant them many years
and commemorate them, it is the same as if you said, "You are sound in the
Faith, and obedience, honor, and commemoration are due to you." You do not
help them understand that they are walking upon an evil path; whereas if
you had broken communion with them, mayhap they would have had pangs of
conscience and would search for the truth. Your guilt for your
reprehensible silence - which Saint Gregory Palamas calls a third kind of
atheism - grows day by day, in spite of your so-called protests.

When the Latin-minded were coming here during the Patriarchate of
Beccos to enforce the union with the Latins, our Lady, the Virgin Mother,
the Guardian of the Holy Mountain Athos, spoke herself, saying, "The
enemies of My Son and of me are coming."

Last year, when the successor of Beccos - Demetrios (the "Leader
of Orthodoxy"!) - arrived, he found the Holy Mountain swathed in black from
two weeks of continuous fires.4 He that hath ears to hear, heareth the
voice of the All-holy Mother of God.

May you find the path of good disagreement, as Saint Nicodemos of
the Holy Mountain teaches in his Interpretation of the Fourteen Epistles of
Saint Paul, saying, "If he [the abbot or bishop] is evil in Faith, that is,
he believes heretical and blasphemous doctrines, flee from him, though he
be an angel from Heaven."

Elder Sabbas,

an un-monastic, but Orthodox monk

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