The Council of Crete: a Critique by Fr Peter Heers

Almost before the ink was dry on the proceedings of the last year’s Cretan Council, dissatisfaction was immediately apparent.

For one thing, if one listened to its cheerleaders, we were told that the “success” was “in the meeting taking place at all”, or some such blather. That’s what those who play poker call a “tell”. In the political sphere, whenever I hear such breathless announcements, I know that there was no substance whatsoever.

There were other problems as well. We reported that the CIA, MI6 and the Mossad had bugged the rooms of the attendees. Then there was the fact that when some of the Churches would not send delegations, panic started setting it. Some of the GOA metropolitans were immediately recalled to Istanbul to meet in an emergency session, just as they were landing in the States.

This is all –how can we say it?–bad juju.

Anyway, I’m not a theologian but I was uncomfortable with the idea that not every bishop was invited nor would every bishop that attended would be granted a vote. Deacon John Chryssavgis (the YouTube face of the Council) tried to spin this as some Hamiltonian stroke of conciliar brilliance, i.e. “one Church, one vote” type of thing. In reality, it was nothing of the kind, more like “one primate, one vote”, no matter what the other bishops in the delegation thought.

So much for the idea that all bishops are equal in dignity. In reality, this was papalism run amok in that only the primates mattered. A dark and twisted path this is, one that leads to Eastern Popery if given the chance.

Regardless, those were my preliminary takes on this regrettable meeting. Below, you will see a more reasoned critique by Fr Peter Heers, lately of the Church of Greece, now resident at ROCOR’s school of theology at Jordanville, New York.

Please take the time to view it.

Comments

  1. George Michalopulos says:
    • Jim of Olym says:

      George, please tell us ignoranti how it is that you know the CIA and other sniffs are bugging the apparati at the Phanar. I was not aware of this until you started unloading it here. I don’t doubt it but I wonder now if they (the ‘intelligence agencies’) are also bugging the OCA council meetings, the secret synodical executive sessions,etc.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        I read it in the newspapers. Actually it was romfea.gr if memory servers. I have some contacts in Greece who so far have been very reliable.

        Regardless, it makes sense now doesn’t it? Think of the panic that the Phanar flew into when it looked like Russia was going to join Bulgaria, Antioch and Georgia in not coming. And the extreme reluctance that Serbia exhibited.

        Now that the previous administration has been caught spying on Candidate Trump through an “incidental” sweep it’s become glaringly obvious that it doesn’t take much to “wiretap” a building.

  2. Peter Millman says:

    Hi George,
    One thing I’ve noticed about the Orthodox clergy; many of them are not particularly intelligent, erudite or the recipients of a first rate education. This may explain why they are still mired in the Middle Ages. I have truly been amazed by the sloppy thinking of many clergy on this site. Look at the histrionics on this site by pompous, arrogant clergy.

    In a nutshell, the educational level of Orthodox clergy can’t compare with the brilliance of Roman Catholics theologians or clergy. Many of them are polyglots, often speaking at least seven different languages fluently. I think one of the many things the Orthodox clergy is sadly deficient in is education. Dr. Stankovich is much more intelligent than 99.99% of the not so very bright clergy on this site. What the Orthodox Church desperately needs is an educated clergy, not the arrogant clergy we sadly find on Monomakhos.

    • Interesting.

      Patriarch Bartholomew received an excellent Roman Catholic education at the Pontifical Institute and it led him straight into bare headed heresy.

      A true theologian is one who prays.

      And a truly Orthodox theologian is one who practices hesychasm.

    • Wow! Did you just march out the arrogance of the catholic church here?! Amazing! Your so called brilliant theologians over there have boxed themselves into a corner where they are so much smarter than God that they are on the edge of taking that church even further away from the true faith of Christianity. Much of their brilliance is nothing more than booked learned arrogance in a vacuum, then pushed down the throats of the cradle catholics standing around in wonderment unable to respond to the vile pap fed to them from borderline protestant catholic clergy. Get your house in order over there, find a pope that isn’t liberal, and come back with a little more humility in the future. Amazing!

      • Peter Millman says:

        Hi Joseph,
        I’m Orthodox, my friend. I just thought I’d take a cheap shot at some of the arrogant Orthodox priests I’ve encountered on this site. Nothing to get shook up about, son.

        • Vincent says:

          O Lord and Master of my life, the spirit of idleness of meddling, of love of power, and idle words grant me not,

          But the spirit of continence, of humility, of patience, and of love, do Thou grant me thy servant.

          Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own offenses and not to judge my brother. For blessed art Thou until ages of ages, Amen

        • Jim of Olym says:

          It has been said that when one knows only one language, one does not know one at all!
          And this from a monoliguistic (except basic Spanguish). Sad me.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Peter, education in the things of the world is of no value unless it is used for God. I would much rather have a Godly priest than a learned one. If you want both though hanging out here won’t help much. Try the blog Glory to God For All Things. There are some humble and devout Romans there too.

      Of course the blog is strictly moderated so you won’t get away with threats or personal attacks. Civility and kindness are the rule.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Misha, three words Eighth Day Books!

    • Peter Millman says:

      Hi Misha,
      I’m really not into anything Russian at all. I know there are some admirable people on this site like Big Pete and George who consider Father Seraphim Rose a saint. Unfortunately, I don’t like him in the slightest. His book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future was dreadful in my opinion. I look at the Russians as the fundamentalists of Orthodoxy. The Greek saints are the ones I admire, especially St. Nicholas and St. Symeon the New Theologian along with the Irish Saint Patrick.

      • Protestant fundamentalism was a movement from the early 1900’s that affirmed the most basic doctrines of Christianity in the face of Enlightenment Liberalism. The founders of the movement published a set of pamphlets called “The Fundamentals”.

        Thus, “fundamentalism”.

        I was also suspicious of Fr. Seraphim Rose but my thinking was along the lines that he was a homosexual and that regardless of his devotion to Orthodoxy, that must have influenced his thinking to the detriment. But I could be wrong about that. I have not read much of Fr. Seraphim Rose, really only a little article on fasting which seemed to convey a common sense approach.

        I’m much more fond of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco as well as Dionysios the Areopagite and St. Symeon, the New Theologian, one of your favorites.

        Russians are an acquired taste. The thing is, you do not find the fullness of Orthodoxy in the GOARCH churches anymore. In ROCOR it is present. In the more moderate Greek Old Calendarist bodies it is present. In the Church of Serbia, Church of Russia and the “canonical” Old Calendar Orthodox in general. And, of course, the Ephraimite/Athonite monasteries here in America.

        But that is Orthodoxy.

        The New Calendarists have adopted heteropraxis and it has led some of them to heterodoxy. It is that simple, not simplistic.

        At this moment I consider the Church to be the canonical Orthodox plus the Greek Old Calendarists who are in akoinonesia. The Phanar is in heresy, but still part of the Church until it is exommunicated, which could come momentarily.

        I assume what will happen is that the Phanar will cross over to Rome, which has been in heresy for over a thousand years. The Church of Greece may decide not to follow, in which case it may or may not reunite with GOARCH in America. It’s up to the Greeks in America which way they want to go: Rome or home.

        And the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church of Christ.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          I too, used to recoil from the term “fundamentalist” and would only use it sparingly as an invective. However, in talking with one of the priests on this blog, I realize that it is a word that has become meaningless. It has (in his words) a “surplus of meaning”.

          I learned this the hard way from one of my godsons whose father was a Freewill Baptist minister. In many Protestant settings, a “liberal” is that guy to the left of me, while a “fundamentalist” is the guy to the right of me. I’m a “moderate” in this hierarchy.

          The funny thing is that if you move one man down the line and ask the same question, he (whether fundamentalist or liberal) will be the moderate while the guy to his side is not the right-thinker. It’s basically a shell game.

          I used to believe the Athonites were likewise fundamentalists until I went to a monastery to inspect for myself. And I saw how empty that term has become. As for myself, one either believes in Christ or one doesn’t. As long as one can say –and more importantly, believe–the Creed and act on its precepts, then one is simply a Christian. It’s really that simple.

          It goes without saying that one is baptized and chrismated in the Church.

          If you ask me to draw it out because the liberal or the non-liturgically-inclined Protestant might interject: “well what about Mary and Saints? Why do you need to have ‘smells and bells’? Why observe the fasts? etc.” The only answer I can give at that point is the one that the Venerable Dmitri Royster of Thrice-blessed memory gave. With a simple gesture of an upraised palm as if to say “hold on a minute”, he would ask, “well first tell me what you believe about Christ. Everything else will follow from that”.

          That makes sense to me and has helped me to be more experiential in my faith rather than dogmatic or intellectual. It has certainly helped me focus on the God-man Jesus in my daily devotions and made he appreciate His saints (esp St Nektarios who heard my mother’s prayers fifty years ago and save my life) even more. That is to say within a proper context.

          Sorry for the ramble. I hope it wasn’t tedious.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Bless your little heart Peter.

        My priest who knew Fr. Seraphim says he was an honest and sincere monk but not a really a theologian.

        His best books IMO were his first Nihilism and his last, God’s Revelation to the Human Heart. The rest is quite forgettable. Although his Genesis, Creation and the Modern Mind for all its faults is a rebuke of materialism that is worth deep consideration.

        His strength lies in the fact that he is an American who, to the best of his ability and frailty lifted the sleazy American mind up to God. Much for his work was and is invisible.

        He is responsible for leading many to the Church including me.

        So, Peter whether he is a saint or not, I thank God for him and do not hesitate to ask his intercession.

  3. Brilliant! As usual, Fr. Peter hits the nail on the head. Every Orthodox clergy and layman from every Orthodox jurisdiction needs to see/read this.

    The Cretan robber council was an abject failure.

  4. r j klancko says:

    perhaps the greek part of the eastern orthodox church needs to reexamine who they are, how they will spread the word of christianity, and what their role should/must be.

    for example, in the middle of great lent, in fact toward the end of great lent, the most holy part, what do the greeks do? they put being greek before the church and celebrate greek independence day, they break the fast for a secular holiday — is this consistent with the message of the rest of the eastern church. isn’t this compromising the truth of the faith?

    also

    why do they, greek, dominate the church of jerusalem, a church with a laity of arabs? where are the arab bishops? look how the church of antioch split over this greek dominance issue in the 18th cenury. it seems like they are children playing in a sandbox hogging all the toys. no wonder our churches in this area are struggling

    why do they interfere with estonia and ukraine? it looks like they are a gad fly seeking to cause annoyance? is this what our teachings are all about? or are the egos of man in action?

    the days of byzantium are over, so are the days of classical greece. christianity is for everyone, not solely for the greeks. greek and byzantine chant is out, the languages and the music of the diaspora must be the norm in order to grow and prosper.

    so let us face reality, which church is the richest? russia

    which church has the most members? russia

    which church enriched and protected the eastern church after constantinople fell? russia

    which church has adapted to many of the countries towhich it brought the word? russia

    this reminds me of what happened in russia 100 years ago, the minority party was the bolshevik – which mean’t large, while the majority party was the menshivik, which mean’t small the psychological perception helped the minority group to cause havoc.

    constaninople is the minority church, yet it operates as the largest, ergo the dilemma we presently have. we are a synodal church, with everyone being equal aren’t we??? in many instances the church follows it laws to the t, in others it does not. we must come to grips with whether it is the will of God or man. what i see in action is that man trumps God when it comes to the greeks.

    but first and foremost, i still do not understand how they can disregard the requirements of holy lent to celebrate a secular holiday – everyone needs and independence day, yet how can we divert from the law of God- just makes one wonder about the truth of the faith sometimes – it seems to be the truth of a man’s interpretation – to be successful we need to be consistent with our message – shouldn’t we?

    this is of great concern, it brings a tear to my eye, as that great eastern church theologian pogo once said — we have met the enemy and it is us.

    perhaps it is time we all evaluate how we will successfully survive the next century and become a united and vibrant church again

    • Michael Bauman says:

      r.j. It is simple. When the persecution comes those who are not seeking God will apostasize publicly to “save” their own skin.

      I suspect there will be a great surprise at that separation of sheep and goats.

      While theology especially ecclesiology(Where two are more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them), Christology ( whom do you say I am?) and anthropology (image, likeness, male female) are crucial in the end two things stand out: almsgiving and having a merciful heart out of love for Christ.

      “If it be now, it is not to come. If it is not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.”

      “Watch and pray so that hour does not come upon you unaware.”

      “Fear not for I have overcome the world”

      Those statements define the goal and the context but each of us must do the preperation

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

      During the celebrations of Greek Independence Day growing up and just recently we NEVER broke our fast and I and my family never broke our fast so I don’t know what you are talking about. Not one Greek Orthodox Christian that was doing the fast EVER broke it so wipe aware your crocodile tear.

      As for Russia, she has a role to play from Almighty God, but we do not bow our need to Mother Russia but to Hold Mother Church no matter what. The Church of God does not care about bigger or smaller. The Church of Albania is very small, but her faith and commitment to the faith is that of lions.

      So who cares r j klancko? Oh yes..You and and other trolls. Real Russian Orthodox Christians do not breed discord in the Body of Christ. Why do you? Maybe you are the one deficient in some way instead of the Greeks? Hmmm?

      Peter

    • I agree with much of your post, but…

      byzantine chant is out

      Speaking as a convert, you can pry it from my cold, dead hands. Please God, let us not go down the path of endless bickering over music like Protestants do.

    • Peter Millman says:

      Greek envy, my friend?

    • Jim of Olym says:

      Hey, anyone who flies kites on the first day of Great Lent has my approval! Yay Kites!

    • Peter Millman says:

      rjklanko,
      Are you referring to Putin’s puppets?

  5. Fr. David says:

    It seems to me that one of the keys was keeping the “agenda hidden”
    until it was forced out, near the end of the preparatory meetings. When
    you love darkness more than light, there is something untoward in the works.
    frd+

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Absolutely Fr. To my mind, the entire proceedings should have been televised, a la C-SPAN. Instead, it was wall done hidden, in a corner.

  6. And it was in these days, little children, that King Donald the Great, (aka, “Donald the Republican”), the first emperor of America, broke the mother country off from the European Union:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-historic-step-britain-ready-to-give-formal-notice-it-is-leaving-the-european-union/2017/03/29/032c1176-13c5-11e7-bb16-269934184168_story.html?utm_term=.8e9c3a502a6d

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAuzkb0oC-8

    • George Michalopulos says:

      I know, I’m so happy I’m wetting myself regarding the Brexit. Theresa May actually signed the Bill making it official. I realize that it’s going to take two years but the writing’s on the wall.

      I pray that Le Pen wins in France. Then, who knows?

      • V. Rev. Andrei Alexiev says:

        Agree with you, George! Never thought I would side with the English against the Scots, but in this case I do.

  7. If the Council was such a success then release the transcripts of its proceedings and the audio and video recordings of the Council.

    Why the need for secrecy when it has almost a year later?

  8. And, fellow Monomakhites, for those of you who still have some doubt that we are headed full tilt boogie into the eschaton, this from the NYT:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/opinion/president-trump-risks-the-planet.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

    . . . so all I have to say is:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cQNkIrg-Tk

    Read the following keeping the fact that Trump is in office for at least 4 years, both chambers of Congress are controlled by Republicans so he can’t be impeached and Obamacare is a ticking time bomb. Now tell me who has who in the crosshairs:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/donald-trump-chuck-schumer-236603

    And course, we have bloodthirsty Turks on the horizon to take the spotlight off the suspicious Russian bear:

    https://fortune.com/2017/03/27/michael-flynn-turkey-russia/

  9. I’m sure you all have heard of E=mc2. Try this on for size:

    If you think of God the Father as the Head and Trunk of a Being, The Son/Word would be His Right Hand which pushes things along and His Left Hand would be the Holy Spirit which pulls things into fullness. It is true that God is One. However, two would be in opposition to each other eternally. Thus, God must also be a Trinity if man is ever to be reconciled to Him, deified, given that there is a fourth perishable force in the world – evil. Evil, however, has no ontological reality. The evil force manifests as a person, a fallen angel, Lucifer/Satan. Due to his pride, he becomes a sort of impersonation of evil. God the Father draws mankind into the Trinity using the Son and Holy Spirit to guide and inspire him. We encounter this directly in the Holy Eucharist (Essence and Energy). IMHO, it was Lucifer/Satan who appeared to Muhammad rather than Gabriel.

    This, of course, would mean that the Qur’an is a type of Antichrist and Muhammad would correspond to an evil-bearer, rather than a Theotokos. That is not to say that evil one will not find a human antichrist, of course.

    Lucifer cannot incarnate, obviously, but only possess a person. That person would be the Antichrist.

    And also obviously, Incarnation trumps possession.

    Rest easy, we know how the game ends.

  10. Peter A. Papoutsis says:

    Very Nice!, Very, very Nice! The Cretan council is now what it has always been – a disgrace!

    Peter

  11. Gail Sheppard says:

    I thought he did a great job. It bothers me, though, that he had to state the obvious. Why isn’t everyone as concerned as he is, precisely for the reasons he articulated so well? To me, the Church is in real jeopardy. *We* know the EP doesn’t speak for all of us and even if he manages to take a quarter of the Church with him, we will remain. The rest of the world doesn’t know this, though. How do we witness to people? We’ll look like episcopi vagantes.

    My friend, Sam, has been in the Church for decades and I admire him for many reasons but mostly because he carries the Church *within* him where nothing can touch it.

    He and I talked about that Russian tale where this selfish woman, who never did a good thing in her life, threw an onion to a beggar. Her guardian angel construed this as an act of good will, justifying her salvation, so he threw her an onion in hell (I always imagined it to be a spring onion, with a long green tail) so she could grab onto it and pull herself out. She grabbed onto it, but when she started to ascend, others held onto her feet. She kicked them away and the onion broke.

    Sam and I see this story differently. He thinks the onion broke because the others were trying to pull her back into hell (not trying to ascend); a metaphor for the world. Had she remained focused on pulling herself out, the onion would have remained in tact and she, along with the others, would have been saved. In other words, “Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.” (Saint Seraphim of Sarov)

    I think the onion broke because of her lack of concern for the salvation of others. I believe these souls also wanted to be saved and that’s why they grabbed onto her feet. Had she not selfishly kicked them off, the onion would not have broken.

    For me, the Church is not so much inside of me, like it is with Sam, but around me. It is a home I share with many. Allowing the Church to be marginalized and misrepresented will lead (has led) some of the Body astray, perhaps jeopardizing their very salvation. How can the rest of us be saved if we don’t do something to stop it? Will Christ hold us accountable if we ignore His house is on fire?

    I honestly don’t know which of us is right.

  12. Michael Bauman says:

    Gail, we can only do what we can do. Be ready for whatever moment or series of moments comes to each of us. Likely to be small and easy to miss or catch us by surprise if we are not watchful.

    Watch, keep your reserves of oil handy, listen.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Michael, God willing, you and other will help keep me alert. You have no idea how much I appreciate you. I don’t say that enough.

  13. Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you… For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

    -The first Epistle of Peter

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Brian, how does one do good? Do we disappear into ourselves and carry the Church within us or do we struggle to put His house in order so that others might be saved. I don’t know the answer. Perhaps the *commitment* to doing good, whatever that “good” turns out to be, is enough.

      It could very well be a passion within me, but I cannot bear to watch the Church split like this. Yet, there is no way to reach the people who think it is time to re-imagine the Church. Many believe they are right and think they are acting out of compassion. It is a delusion.

      • Gail,

        I don’t claim to have the answer. But I wouldn’t consider what is happening to be sad, except in the sense that sadness is the natural response to our discovering that things are not what we thought them to be or that some people are not who we thought they were. I am of the opinion that the fracturing we are witnessing is not a fracturing at all. It is rather a revealing of what has been largely hidden for quite some time. It is revealing the apostasy of some, and those who until now were wavering out of misguided compassion or a desire for a kind of ‘unity’ that is not grounded in Truth will finally be able to see it for what it is and either repent or reveal themselves to be what they are.

        My reason for quoting the apostle was only this: Do not be surprised, as though something strange were happening. It may appear strange to our eyes (It certainly does to mine); but God knows what He’s doing, and He will use it for the salvation of those whom He has chosen regardless of how it appears to our eyes or how ‘divided’ it may make us appear to the world.

        Ours is only to be faithful and trust Him.

  14. John Nixon says:

    Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos identified key issues Crete Council with a firm clarity reminiscent of now Archbishop Demetrios back in the days when he was a Professor at Holy Cross. From the article,

    “Vladyka underlined that the Church needs first not diplomats but theologians, whose views are the fruit of the experiences of their spiritual lives.”

    “Metropolitan Hierotheos characterized the documents of the Crete Council as “diplomatic compromise texts, from which each can draw the conclusion he wants.”

    “the Crete Council was not properly prepared for and did not represent a council of bishops, but a council of primates and their entourages.”

    “once the minutes of the sessions of the Crete Council will be published it will be obvious that it was dominated by “the branch theory” and “baptismal theology.”

    He didn’t sign the final documents. Read the brief article at http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/100052.htm

    Additional to the theological problems, I take issue with the priorities of the EP wanting to look good as “the leader” of Orthodox Christians to other confessional bodies and the secular media, rather than working to manifest the unity of the Church through a truly conciliar process. The Council of Crete is now cause of further dissention as more conscientious objectors take their stand. See http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/102346.htm#_Toc72635076 and http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/102025.htm

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Thank you, John. It’s encouraging for us to know that those who God appointed are doing what God appointed them to do, i.e. protect the Church. I am sorry to hear about Father Theodore Zisis. May he be counted among the righteous.

    • The one thing that Met. Hierotheos is wrong about is that he seems to be unwilling to cease commemoration of the Phanar. That is entirely appropriate. I do not foresee another Great and Holy Council of the Church after the one that recognized hesychasm and the theology of St. Gregory Palamas as correct. Crete certainly was not such a council and the eschaton is very, very near.

      Now is the time to cease commemoration of heretical bishops.

      • John Nixon says:

        Misha, I agree in principle that “now is the time to cease commemoration of heretical bishops,” however, I’m ok with Met. Hierotheos continuing to commemorate the EP at this point. Not everyone has the constitution to be a frontline soldier, and his writing style of speaking truth with a degree of diplomatic nuance suggests that he probably thinks it best to try to work from within than to draw a line in the sand. He may be able to achieve more by not drawing that line (by ceasing commemoration of the EP), which then invokes a Mexican Standoff between him and the Archbishop of Greece, and thus the substance of his message gets lost. As I think about it, in all likelihood, as a Met. of the Church of Greece, he would commemorate the Archbishop of Athens–only being forced to the issue of commemorating the EP if liturgizing with him.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Good point, John. I too think that bishops and priests of the Church of Greece only commemorate their direct hierarch and the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. After all, they’re an autocephalous Church.

          Am I wrong?

        • http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/102492.htm

          When I saw the story above, I realized that I have not been zealous enough in denouncing the Phanar and Rome and all their machinations. To evict noetic elders from their cells on Athos because they cannot stomach heretical efforts at a Unia . . . that is truly satanic, diabolical and beneath contempt.

          Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis deserve the full Wrath of God for this, Bowl Judgments, etc. I will no longer pray for them or presume to stand in the way of God’s righteous verdict upon them.

          * * *

          “The situation has intensified on Mt. Athos after more than fifty cells ceased commemoration during the Divine services of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, the ruling bishop of the Holy Mountain, reports AgionOros.

          The more than one hundred monastics inhabiting these cells have taken this step in response to the documents of last year’s council on Crete, and the general path of the heresy of Ecumenism, which has concerned them for many years, thus ‘walling themselves off’ but without committing the grave sin of schism, as has Esphigmenou Monastery.

          This distinction between walling off and schism is explained, in a text from the Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries, also available at Mystagogy from 2013, regarding Esphigmenou Monastery:

          Other predominant Monasteries have also interrupted the commemoration of the Patriarch at times and are cautious about the future, however, none of them has ever interrupted ecclesiastical communion nor has any ever acceded to an ecclesiastical communion with outside ecclesiastical groups—and of course none of them has ever been persecuted. On the Holy Mountain there are other zealot monks, who however live peacefully in their cells, without disturbing the Canonicity and the Statutes of the Holy Mountain.

          Although non-commemorators have been left in peace in the past, these roughly one hundred monks have received notification that they must leave their cells. However, many of the monks have declined to voluntarily leave their habitations.

          In July of last year, an open letter was composed by over sixty Athonite hieromonks and monks, led by the disciple of St. Paisios the Athonite, Elder Gabriel of Karyes, and sent to the governing Sacred Community of Mt. Athos, listing twelve points of divergence between the Crete Council and Orthodox Tradition, and calling for the council to be condemned. Without such a condemnation, they would be forced to cease commemoration of the patriarch in the services, wrote the monks, including inhabitants of the Great Lavra, Vatopedi, Hilandar, Pantocrator, Koutloumousiou, Stavronikita, and Philotheou Monasteries, and monks and elders of Karoulia, Kapsala, and various sketes.

          For its part, in November of last year, Mt. Athos’ Sacred Community composed a document in response to the conciliar documents of Crete, concluding that, ‘The documents of the Crete Council must overcome their one-sidedness which is due to the neglect of the theological tradition, traced by the modern God-bearing elders and authoritative theologians, who have looked upon the path of ecumenical dialogue as an ecumenistic deviation from truth. Not only the so-called ‘zealots’ but also sound voices seek the words of truth, to find and ensure rest.’

          At that time, the Sacred Community wrote that cessation of Church hierarchy is ‘unjustified for now.’”

          * * *

          Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered; and let those who hate Him flee from His face. As smoke vanishes, let them vanish; and as wax melts from the presence of fire, so let the demons perish from the presence of those who love God and who sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross and say with gladness: Hail, most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, for Thou drivest away the demons by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ Who was crucified on thee, went down to hell and trampled on the power of the devil, and gave us thee, His honorable Cross, for driving away all enemies. O most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, help me with our holy Lady, the Virgin Theotokos, and with all the Saints throughout the ages. Amen.

  15. George Michalopulos says:

    More rebellion from Athos.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Actually George it is Pat. Bartholomew who is rebellion. To say that Athos is rebelling indicates that Pat. Batholomew and the Cretan robber council is legitimate.