I have given you those photocopies – they are of canons from “The Rudder” – because those canons are connected with something that has been on all of our mind in recent days: the matter of ceasing commemoration of ecumenist bishops.
This is a very important and very serious matter which we have been examinating for many years now.
And the reason why we hear people speaking about ceasing the commemoration of bishops… What does that mean? This is what it means: Many times during the Divine Liturgy – during the Litany of Peace and elsewhere during the Liturgy – we mention the name of the bishop. “For our Archbishop, Anthimos…” “For our Archbishop, Panteleimon…” And again in the Divine Liturgy, “Among the first be mindful, O Lord, of our Archbishop, Anthimos…” This is the commemoration of the bishop; when we mention the name of the bishop during the Holy Services. So why are we hearing thing about ceasing the commemoration of bishops? Why would we not commemorate the bishop at the Divine Liturgy? Please.
These are serious matters; this is no joke. We shouldn’t be having side-discussions. These things are very serious. These matters are connected with our salvation and with heresy.
The reason we are talking about ceasing the commemoration of bishops is because there is a canon which. Relying on the previous experience of our Church, says that when a Patriarch, Metropolitan, or Bishop preaches heresy bare-headedly… And the canon to which we refer is the 15th canon… We will not analyze it now, I will simply read it to you. This is the 15th Canon… there where is written 13th, 14th, 15th. It is the 15th Canon. If you turn the page over it says, “The So-Called 1st/2nd Council.” On the photocopy where you find the 15th Canon, on the other side at the top it says “The So-Called 1st/2nd Council.” The 1st/2st Council. Today I will tell you summarily… today we are going to have a introductory class. We are not going to analyze it [the canon] today. This 1st/2nd Council is connected neither with the 1st Ecumenical Council, nor with the 2nd Ecumenical Council despite the fact it is called the 1st/2st Ecumenical Council. It is called the 1st/2nd Ecumenical Council because it was convened in 861 during the time of St. Photios and met during two separate periods. It met for a first period, took a break, and then later the same year it met again for a second period. This is why it is called 1st/2nd. The same, single council met twice.
This Council – the 1st/2nd – produced 17 canons and among the 17 which it produced is the famous, the notorious… This canon has become notorious in recent times. And much has been written about it. Everyone is writing about this canon and each interprets it in his own way, as he understands it. We need to look and see which interpretation is correct. Whole books have been written about this canon of the 1st/2nd Council. And the chief matter disputed by the interpreters of this canon – I will tell you now briefly, in order to pique you interest. The chief matter which interpreters dispute with respect to this canon is whether what this canon says about ceasing commemoration of a bishop who preaches heresy…This canon says that is some Patriarch, Metropolitan, or Bishop preaches heresy bare-headedly… What does “bare-headed” mean? With boldness, openly, shamelessly, from a pulpit. If a Patriarch, Metropolitan, or Bishop preaches heresy bare-headedly we are able to cease commemorating him.
Look at this canon – the 15th – just to gain a sense. It says: The rules laid down with respect to Presbyters and Bishops and Metropolitans…” This refers to the previous canons. “…are still more applicable to Patriarchs. Any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan who dares to secede or apostatize the communion of his own Patriarch, and fails to mention the latter’s name in accordance with custom duly fixed and ordained in the divine Mystagogy, but, before a conciliar verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgment against him. Creates a schism…” At the beginning, in the first part of the canon, we are told that any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan who dares not to have communion, or distances himself from his own Patriarch and does not mention his name during the divine Mystagogy before he – the Bishop, Metropolitan, or Patriarch – has been officially condemned, that Presbyter, Bishop, or Metropolitan who does not commemorate, who does not mention the name of the Patriarch before he has been condemned by a council, is a schismatic. He causes a schism.
Consequently, then in the first part of the canon we have something very fearful. We speak about the cessation of commemoration, but that cessation can possibly create a schism. It says: “…any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan who dares to secede or apostatize from the communion of his own Patriarch, and fails to mention the latter’s name in the divine Mystagogy before a conciliar verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgment against him…” before the Patriarch has been openly condemned by a council, “…such a one causes a schism.”
This is the first part of the canon which does not apply to us. We are going to examine it in detail in our classes. There is a second part. However, which does speak to our situation. What is the second part? It says: “…the Holy Council has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law.” Therefore, he who does not commemorate the Patriarch, the Holy Council – the 1st/2nd – determines that he should be “…alien to every priestly function.” if only he be convicted of having committed this transgressions of the law.” But he must have been rebuked for this: they have to summon him to an ecclesial court and convict him. They can’t condemn him without having heard him. They must rebuke him; there must be an inquiry. “…the Holy Council has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function…” He is to be made alien, he is to be removed from the priesthood, he is to be defrocked, “…if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law.” But a synod must call him and condemn him; he must give a defense.
So that is the first part. The second part is what is chiefly of interest to us. “Accordingly, these rules have been sealed and ordained as respecting those persons who under pretext of charges against their own presidents stand aloof, and creates schism, and disrupt the union of the Church.” In other words, this is what we say – that they are schismatics and should be defrocked – concerning those persons who creates a schism under pretext of charges against their bishop, saying that he committed some sin or some transgression. For example, if we think that the bishop is a thief, that the bishop is a womanizer, that the bishop is sexually immoral, that the bishop is unjust, if someone does not commemorate the Patriarch on account of such moral sins, before he is condemned for them, he causes a schism. And continuing it says, “But as for…” Now he is making an exception. The first part applies to those who cease commemorating under the pretext of transgression, that is if the cease commemorating of the bishop for some sin, because he has been unjust, or on account of some other transgression. But there is another circumstance when the cessation of commemoration might occur. What is it? “But as for those persons who, on the other hand, on account of some heresy…” This is what is of interest to us. Those who, “…on account of some heresy condemned by Holy Councils, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in the Church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodal verdict has been rendered…” Here is the term “walling-off” that we use frequently. This is where we get the phrase, “walling-off.” …but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which benefits them among Orthodox Christians.” So the first part of the 15th Canon says that those who cease commemorating a Patriarch, Metropolitan, or Bishop, on account of his transgressions, on account of some sins, causes a schism. They are defrocked. However, this does not apply to those who cease commemoration on account of some heresy that he [the bishop] preaches which has been condemned by Councils or by the Holy Fathers. When the heresy has been condemned by councils or by the Holy Fathers, those who do not have any communion with the bishop, when that bishop preaches heresy publicly, when he writes or preaches heresy, and teaches those things within the Church with boldness, those do not fall under the first part of the canon with those that are defrocked. Rather these who cease commemoration, “…before any conciliar or synodal verdict has been rendered…are not subject to any canonical penalty.” That is to say, we do not wait for a council to convene to condemn the bishop for heresy; rather, if we conclude that the bishop holds a heresy we are allowed to cease commemorating him even before a council has condemned him. And not only those who do this are not defrocked or punished as schematics, but conversely, “…they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians.” They should be honored. Those who cease commemorating their Bishop, Patriarch, or Archbishop when he is preaching heresy should not be punished, but ought to be honored. And it provides an argument for why they ought to be honored and not punished. “For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers…” It is because they do not condemn true bishops. Those who preach heresy are not bishops but they are pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers. Consequently, they do well in ceasing to commemorate them. “For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-Bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism…” They have not created a schism within the Church, “…but, on the contrary, they have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schism and divisions.” They struggle to preserve the Church from schism which are provoked by those who preach heresy. He who preaches heresy is the one who provokes schisms within the Church. He who ceases commemoration of a bishop who preaches heresy not only does not cause a schism, but rather he rescues the Church from schisms. So that is the famous 15th Canon…
A firs reading… we will be looking at this canon over several sessions because there is a lot of commotion surrounding it. And I will tell you why this commotion exists. Because everyone is saying whatever he wants. I have already told you this. Three years ago – and I feel guilty about this – Elder Gabriel, the well-known Athonite elder, asked me… “They have all lost it…one says this… one says that, another says something else. Please, Fr. Theodoros, look at this canon, take what each person is saying and produce a study for us, write something that tells us what this canon is saying and who is right about it.” Is Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos who interprets this canon one way? Is the scholarly Old-Calendaris Hieromonk Theodoritos who challenged Fr Epiphanios Theodoropoulos view? Is Fr Euthymios Trikaminas who has also written a book? Is Hieromonk Vasilios Papadakis who has written a very large… A whole chorus of people all offering interpretations of this canon. “Sit down, Fr Theodoros, and write a study that will help us sort out what we ought to do. We have problems in the Church. We don’t want to make a mistake.” But because I have been very busy over the last one-and-a-half, two years with the Council I have not had time to take up this matter. Yet I have looked here and there and so I have decided that I will use the opportunity provided by these sessions to look over the whole connected bibliography again, as well as the texts. We will look at the texts here together, and we will look at the basic views of those Fathers; of Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos, now reposed, a very scholarly and virtuous clergyman; of the Hieromonk Elder Theodoritos, a Haghiorite zealot monk who went to the Old Calendarists who is the most-learned monk who knew the Holy canons very well; and those many of our contemporaries who have written about this – there have been conferences dedicated to this theme. And so that you might understand just how important these matters are, I will…today I have brought with me… I will read you two texts written by two well-known Metropolitans who ceased commemoration in the past so that you can see how they approach this issue. Now you have head the canon… They invoke this canon. Listen to what these two hierarchs say about ceasing commemoration, having ceased commemorating Athenagoras in 1970. We are referring to the ever-memorable Metropolitans Ambrosios of Eleutheropolis who was the first to cease the commemoration of Athenagoras invoking this canon, and to Metropolitan Augustinos (Kantiotes) who followed the lead of the Metropolitan of Eleutheropolis, who was the first to cease commemoration of Athenagoras. He too ceased, and then later they were followed by the ever-memorable Metropolitan Pavlos of Paramythia along with almost the whole of the Holy Mountain. From 1969-17972/3 the whole of the Holy Mountain, including St Paisios, ceased commemorating Athenagoras. These things are not simple. Today, if we were to compare, we should have already ceased a thousand times because what Bartholomew and the others are doing is much worse, much more daring, that what Athenagoras was doing back then. But who knows about these things? Who is informed about all this? How is it that we today lack the spiritual sensitivity that the Athonite monks had back then? And how can one not be grieved by the Athonite monks of today? Back then they ceased commemoration over lesser ecclesiastical breaches and transgressions.
Listen, then, to Ambrosios of Eleutheropolis historic telegram about ceasing commemoration of Athenagoras. He writes. He Writes to the Synod… The Synod which did not dare to punish them. Now they try to frighten us saying, “If you cease commemoration we will defrock you; you will be schismatics; we will take action against you!” Why didn’t you defrock these men? Why didn’t you defrock them? Because there was no canonical ground to do so. There is no canonical ground. They have to drum up other unfounded accusations in order to defrock them. Now they are threatening to defrock Archimandrite Paisios Papadopulos who ceased commemoration. Why didn’t they defrock these Metropolitans and the Athonites who ceased commemoration back then? Now they call them “schismatics” and so on. So, let’s listen to Ambrosios telegram to the Synod, to our Synod, the Greek Synod. “It is with bitter sorrow that we have learned of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras blasphemous displays, reported in Athens’s afternoon newspaper, which have shaken the foundation of the Orthodox Christian Faith.” The bishop felt as if the foundation was shaking. Now, there are earthquakes… and we do nothing. “This assault on Orthodoxy took place exactly one week before the Sunday of Lent…” In 1970. “…when all the orthodox celebrate the triumph of Orthodox over every heresy was, by every indication, premeditated and intentional. The Phanar, which until recently…” I have said this to you a thousand times and shown it to be true. “The Phanar, which until recently…” Until the 19th century, “…represented a glorious bulwark of unwaning struggle in support of Orthodoxy, and whose leader struggled valiantly and sacrificed for Holy Orthodoxy…” Until the 19th century. “…is today, led by the Ecumenical Patriarch and a number of like-minded clergy who are campaigning to mortally wound it.” The Patriarchate is mortally wounding Orthodoxy. This was under Athenagoras; now things are worse. “Since then a figure of first-rank in the Patriarch’s words, namely the Meliton of Chalcedon, who is, according to the Patriarch, the voice of the Phanar and a man to whom few at the Phanar can compare, has sprung into action. He surely was impressed when on Cheesefare Sunday…” ‘He’ being the Patriarch. When, “…he heard the latter speaking from Athens about ‘wind and water,’ about the transfiguration of the church, about the ‘carnavalos,’ and about – listen! listen! – hypocrisy.” On Cheesefare Sunday, Metropolitan Meliton of Chalcedon preached a homily at the Metropolitan Church in Athens which worldly people loved. They all begun speaking about what a beautiful homily it was, but it was a frightfully un-Orthodox homily. “How does Metropolitan Meliton dare to castigate the hypocrite and hypocrisy when he himself, during the Divine Liturgy, when a myriad of hypocritical attic phrases proceeding from his mouth…” A beautiful turn of phrase, isn’t it? Ambrosios was very learned. Atticism. “…and with various gestures and bodily movements lacking seriousness and meekness according to witnesses who saw and heard it and more suited to actors and mimes than a liturgist of the Most-High…”
We have some actors today as well. Both priest and bishops. There is one bishop I just cannot bear to watch… he is pretty much an actor. I will let you imagine who this is. It doesn’t matter. This one, however, in Athens… Please…please… “…succeeded in convincing everyone that he possesses a notable talent for hypocritical ability and artistry.” Therefore, “On account of the Patriarch’s public displays through which he has drawn recklessly close to heresy, my patience has been spent and there being no more time to waste, I have ceased commemorating him as of today…”
How long? He was patient. Athenagoras said this and he said that. At that time he was saying unacceptable things about the primacy and infallibility of the Pope. So he says, ‘I can’t take any more!’ “I have ceased commemorating him as of today…” This is in the New Lands, in Eleutheropolis, where they are obliged to say, “For our Patriarch Athenagoras and for our Holy Synod which rightly divides the word of truth.” How long? “…applying…” Listen to this, “…the 15th Canon of the 1st/2nd Council.” ‘Applying the 15th Canon of that Council,’ which I read to you, ‘I cease commemoration of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras as of today.’ “From this point forward I will commemorate our Holy Synod…” In the New Lands they make a double commemoration. They commemorate both the Patriarch and the Holy Synod. He says, ‘I have ceased commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarch and I will commemorate only the Holy Synod.’ “Cautiously, I will begin commemorating him again after he renounces his un-Orthodox displays or proves himself falsely accused of suggesting that the satanically heresies of Papal primacy and infallibility, both destructive to the foundation of Orthodox Faith, represent simple ecclesiastical customs and not substantial differences.” Athenagoras said that Papal infallibility and primacy are significant differences. “today the whole of the Orthodox world honors the memory of St Gregory Palamas…” He wrote those on the Sunday of St Gregory Palamas. In Lent of 1970. “…and just the other day we celebrated the memory of Photios the Great…” February 6th. “…and the memory of St Mark Evgenicos.” January 19th. “Not only ought he to immediately…” I said this before I read this text. ” Not only ought he to immediately remove names of the aforementioned saints from the calendar of the Orthodox Church, but also the names of all the martyrs who throughout the centuries struggled for Orthodoxy and against heresy.” They struggled against Papism and Protestantism, against Papal primacy, against infallibility, and along comes Athenagoras and says we should cast these saints out of the Church. “It sorrows me deeply to take such a severe, albeit pious stance with respect to the most-serious matter before us. My arch-priestly conscience will not allow me to remain silent any longer. It is time to raise strong, unassailable walls against Papal despotism and its plans of expansion, the humble servant of which unfortunately are the Ecumenical Patriarch and these ecumenists, weak in the Orthodox Faith, who side with him. I trust the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece will not only understand the decision to which my conscience has led me, but that it too will apply what the Holy Canons commend with respect to the Patriarch, who has gone off the rails dogmatically speaking.” He says, “Not only should you understand what I am doing and not punish me, but you should cease commemoration as well.’ This is what the Holy Canons calls us to do. So this is what Ambrosios said.
Recently some passages containing statements about cessation of commemoration from Metropolitan Augoustinos Katiotes have been published on the internet. He followed after Metropolitan Ambrosios; and he says this. These are taken from several of Augoustinos Katiotes’ books and I will read them to you as well so that you will see that this is not a simple matter. Sometimes I have given you the impression that I might eventually cease commemoration. You have not grasped the seriousness of the matter and you say, ‘No, Father…no, Father…no, Father…what are we going to do?’ We are all responsible. ‘My conscience accuses me, along with the canons…’ Here Augustinos Kantiotes says… these are taken from different publications… there are citations here. “Soon after I become a bishop…” In Florina, in 1970. “…some Old Calendarists began criticizing me for not having ceased commemoration of Athenagoras and for not having denounced him as a heretic since he does not rightly divide the word of truth. As Fr Epiphanios Theodoropoulos observes, the commemoration of the Patriarch at the Divine Liturgy, ‘Among the first be mindful, O Lord…Grant,’ and so on is not a confirmation of all of these things, but rather a prayer asking the Lord to give the Bishop or Patriarch peace of soul, bodily health, good repute, and teaching which is Orthodox in every way.” One of the arguments against ceasing commemoration – Augoustinos presents this argument here initially is that when in the Divine Liturgy we say, “Among the first be mindful, O lord, of our Archbishop, or our Patriach Anthimos or Athenagoras. Grant that he may serve your holy Churches in peace. Keep him safe, honorable, and in health for many years,” the ‘grant’ is optative. ‘Xarisai’ with ‘ai’. We are not saying that he rightly divides the word of truth, but we ask God that he might rightly divide the word of truth. We pray that he will rightly divide the word of truth. Consequently, we don’t present him as rightfully dividing the word of truths, he says. This is correct. But in the other two instances we do present him as rightly dividing the word of truth. During the Great Entrance when the bishop comes and says, ‘For our Patriarch Athenagoras, for our Patriarch Bartholomew and for our Holy Synod, who rightly divide the word of truth.” There he says that he rightly divides the word of truth. That [commemoration] should certainly be cut in such cases. Further down. “Patriach Athenagoras,” Augoustinos continues. “Patriarch Athenagoras has undoubtedly done things which have carried him far away from the orthodox mindset. On account of this, they…” The Old Calendarists. “…asked me to denounce him as a heretic, to take his name out of the diptychs, and to cease commemorating him.” This is just after he became a bishop. “I replied that certain of the Patriarch’s actions represented violations of the Holy Canons which, if they prove true, warrant his defrocking. But who is going to defrock him? In the case of clergy, the proper means of doing this is the Synod; in the case of the Ecumenical Patriarch it is the Hierachy of the Orthodox Church.” Here he makes a mistake. It is not the Hierarchy, but the Synod of the Patriarchate. “Sadly, however, he has never been brought before it and thus he has remained on his throne.” No synod has ever tried the Patriarch… He has not yet properly understood the canon which says, “before any synodal verdict has been rendered.” He has not read the canon closely enough yet. Below, after he has read it, he does the same thing as Ambrosios who knew the canons well. “As the ever-memorable former Metropolitan of Florina Chrysostom (Kavourides), Archbishop of the Old Calendarists, he said, defrocking and excommunication are distinguished according to potentiality and actuality.” Someone is defrocked according to potentiality when he is a heretic, but he is defrocked in actuality when he is condemned by a synod. “A clergyman who has departed from Orthodoxy, until he is condemned by a synod, is considered defrocked in potentiality; but he is defrocked in actuality after a synodal verdict. St Nikodemos says this very thing. This applies to the uncanonical activities of the Patriarch, this is to say, on account of his violation of the Holy canons he ought to be considered defrocked in potentiality, but he was not defrocked according to actuality. However, in some instances he has trampled upon dogmas.” Now he changes. “In this case, since he is bare-headedly preaching unorthodox teachings…” This is Athenagoras; Bartholomew, ten times more. “…he does not need to have been previously defrocked by the appropriate ecclesiastical court; rather, he is defrocked automatically in accordance with the 15th Canon of the 1st/2nd Council…” Consequently, we should have no communion with anyone who preaches heresy before they have been tried by a synod. Here Kantiotes speaks very strictly, Defrocking comes automatically. A synod does not need to defrock him. He is already defrocked when he preaches heresy according to the 15th Canon of the 1st/2nd Council. And he says, “…a canon which I have spoken of as an ierokyrix…” The 15th Canon. Listen to this…the 15th Canon. “…and had asked…” As an ierokyrix, before he was a bishop. “…and had asked the hierarchs of northern Greece to apply it, thereby ceasing from communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch.” Imagine, Katiotes as an ierokyrix and archimandrite In Athens addressed the hierarchy of the New Lands saying, ‘Why have you not ceased commemoration of Athenagoras since he is a heretic?’ Then when he became a bishop in the New Lands the other bishops said to him, ‘You said that to us. Now that you are in Northern Greece, Why don’t you do it? Why don’t you cease commemoration?’ “Why, they ask, now that you have become a bishop in Northern Greece do you yourself not apply the canon and sever spiritual ties with the Patriarch? My answer: I continue to believe what I have believed then. I have not yet applied the canon, not because I am afraid – over and again I have risked my throne for the sake of the application of the Holy Canons…” Indeed. How many times did they go to cart him away, to take him off his throne… that was during the years of the Junta. “However, while I am inclined to apply it…” While inwardly I feel that I should do this, “…while I am inclined to apply it, I tremor…” This is how serious a matter is. “…I tremor and quake in the face of the responsibility one will bear before God and man for undertaking an action that will send shockwaves through the Orthodox Church.” ‘Objectively I ought to apply it, but I tremble and shake because if I cease commemoration it will cause an earthquake in the Orthodox Church.’ “So I am laboring to study the matter more closely…” That is what we are doing. “…I am laboring to study the matter more closely and I wait for the voice of my conscience to strongly convince me that the time has come. I am watching things develop attentively and with much anguish. I see other hierarchs of the Church of Greece becoming uneasy and asking where we are headed. Our times are pregnant with fearful things…” This was back in 1970. Now… things are frightful…unimaginable. “I am ever preparing my soul, my flock, and the souls of my beloved readers…” Of ‘The Spitha’, and other publications. “…for Orthodoxy’s critical hour. If only the lord would let me this bitter cup pass from us. If only unity would not be fractured by the realization of the hidden passions of certain ecumenist leaders of the Church.” They understood that this is what the ecumenist want. “In any case, concerning the ‘when’ and the ‘how,’ I will not be shown how I ought to apply the aforementioned canon by people who have no stake in the matter…” Some fanatic Old Calendarists from here or there. “…but by my conscience, and by listening to the voice of the faithful who have struggled together with me in days of harsh trial.” In the end, however, he did cease commemoration a little later… a few months after this. Listen to what he says. In March of 1970he says, “I agree with Metropolitan Ambrosios of Elevtheropolis’ decision to cease commemoration of Patriarch Athenagoras on account of his more recent statements concerning the common cup, primacy, infallibility, and the filioque.” Athenagoras said that all these – filioque, primacy – are nothing, that we should be receiving from the common cup. “And this cessation will expand. Other hierarchs are preparing to protest. The situation is getting worse. The scandal is spreading. The Patriarchate’s reputation is in decline. A traumatic fracture in the unity of the Orthodox world is approaching, and spiritual ruin will be quick to follow. These are the results of the dialogue initiated by the pope and the Patriarch. The dialogue has proven to be an evil trap of papism aimed at the dissolution of Orthodoxy. The standing Synod, as others have observed, has proven unable to respond to this situation. The Hierarchy of the Church of Greece needs to be assembled. I am sure that with respect to this matter of chief importance it will castigate these deviations from Orthodox principles with impressive unity, sending a message to the whole of the Orthodox world which is disappointed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s uncanonical and unorthodox actions. Likely the Patriarch, facing the possibility of his condemnation, by the hierarchy as a whole, will acquiesce.” But this condemnation never came. “The Standing Synod, immediately following the Patriarch’s unimaginable statements regarding primacy, Papal infallibility, and the filioque ought to have called a special assembly to ask the Patriarch if the reported statements are accurate or not, as a means of calming the Orthodox faithful. The hierarchs who have protested and who have ceased commemoration…” Pay attention to this! “The hierarchs who have protested or have ceased commemoration are not only free from blame, but are worthy of praise because they have rightly understood the 15th Canon of the 1st/2nd Council. A serious question surrounding matters of faith and a crisis of Orthodox conscience has arisen which can be confronted by the hierarchy alone. Any voices od unbelievers, atheists, spiritualists, freemasons, who are spiritually cold and indifferent, and who belong to the Orthodox Church in name alone, raised against the protesting hierarchs ought to be ignored, like the barking of small dogs as we have been taught by the ever-memorable champions of Orthodoxy. Let us listen to Orthodoxy’ faithful children who from every place in Greece turn their eyes to the shepherds, seeking a strong defense of the faith we have received from our Fathers.”
After he ceased commemoration in February of 1973, he says this: “They accuse us of not showing reverence for the Patriarchate because we completely arbitrarily ceased commemoration of the Patriarch.” He had already ceased commemoration. “No! They violate the truth when they say ‘completely arbitrary’. The truth is completely the opposite.” In bold print: ” If you open ‘The Rudder’ and look at the 15th Canon of the 1st/2nd Council then you will see that not ‘completely arbitrarily’, but ‘completely canonically’ we ceased commemorations of the Patriarch. We ceased commemoration after he made frightful statements concerning the primacy and infallibility of the Pope, the filioque, and so on. On the world stage, he is bare-headedly preaching unorthodox teachings which have already been condemned by a number of councils. We, the three Metropolitans Ambrosios, Augustinos, and Paul of Paramythia. “…have made it clear in a document addressed to the Holy Synod that if the Patriarch proves the statements in question to be false we will resume commemoration. Sadly, however, he persists in his delusional ideas.” Now listen to this: “The fact that the Holy Synod has not taken action against us, despite all the pressure levied against it…” Today they threaten us. They have defrocked a few already this summer. Where are their minds? They threaten us now. “The fact that the Holy Synod has not taken action against us shows that it fundamentally recognizes the correctness of our actions. Moreover, we are offering a lofty service to the Patriarchate since it is putting breaks on the Patriarch who is careening toward premature union with the Papists.”