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Will the Real Metropolitan Vitaly Please Stand Up?

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  • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
    Without extraneous comments, here are extracts from two documents signed by Metropolitan Vitaly in the past few months: ====================================
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 3, 2002
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      Without extraneous comments, here are extracts from two documents signed by
      Metropolitan Vitaly in the past few months:

      ====================================

      March 11, 2002, Letter to Archbishop Lazarus (in Russia)

      "Your Eminence, Deear Vladyko!

      May God bless your consecrations of new bishops. It is incumbent upon you
      to create your own Hierarchical Synod, which would be in concord with our
      Hierarchical Synod. At the next Hierarchical Sobor I will inform all of our
      hierarchs about this situation. Let us be with Russia of one mind and of
      one soul, while having separate administrations. The very life of the
      Church virtually dictates this to us.


      May Christ protect you and may His All-Holy Mother cover you with Her
      Omophorion.

      Your sincere well-wisher."

      (Original signed: +Metropolitan Vitaly) (On official ROCE stationery).

      See:

      http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-213.htm

      for the Russian original.

      ================================

      August 8/21, 2002 (five months later)

      From the "Resolution of the Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
      of Russia Regarding the Consecrations Performed by Archbishop Lazarus and
      Bishop Benjamin":

      "It has become known to us, that in the past few days, yet a fourth
      episcopal consecration has been performed by Archbishop Lazarus and Bishop
      Benjamin.

      "This was done without the consent and knowledge of the Sobor of Bishops of
      the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Such actions are subject to
      ecclesiastical condemnation."

      "We, the Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia state
      that we do not accept these anti-Sobor consecrations. . ."

      "We can only conclude, that by their illegal actions, the Right Reverend
      Lazarus and Benjamin and those with them are placing themselves outside of
      the structure of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia."

      Signed:

      +Metropolitan Vitaly (on official ROCE stationery)

      (Also signing were Archbishop Varnava, and Bishops Sergei, Vladimir, and
      Bartholomew)"

      Full Russian text at:

      http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-238.htm


      Comments seem to be unneccesary. . .




      With love in Christ,

      Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
    • vkozyreff
      Dear Father Alexander, bless. Thank you for drawing our attention to the inconstancies of Met. Vitaly s messages. I agree with you that they are disturbing. I
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 5, 2002
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        Dear Father Alexander, bless.

        Thank you for drawing our attention to the inconstancies of Met.
        Vitaly's messages. I agree with you that they are disturbing.

        I think however that you will approve the following thought: however
        strongly I stress them, the mistakes, shortcomings or sins of my
        neighbour do not excuse mine in any way. Accusing others will never
        make me right if I am wrong. It would certainly be a poor strategy
        for the last judgement.

        Whatever the mental, physical or other incompetence of Metr.
        Vitaly's, and however it might aggravate itself in the future, the
        problem is not to chose between Met. Vitaly and Met. Lavr, after
        deciding who is most mentally fit. The problem is : to obey or not to
        obey a heretical bishop.

        The inconstancy of Mt. Vitaly does not change anything about the
        proposals below. The latter refer to monstrous inconsistencies about
        which somebody will have to answer, sooner or later, before men,
        before the Church and before Christ. For there is nothing hidden that
        will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known
        or brought out into the open. (Luke 8:16-18)


        1. Vl Ambrose did transgress the canons in communing with a
        parasynagogue, made of heretical schismatics (the Eulogians). Vl
        Ambrose did transgress the canons openly, in public and repeatedly.
        He instructed his flock to do the same, even when they expressed
        astonishment. He used his authority to encourage communion with
        heretics and to silence orthodox resistance to his innovations. A
        bishop must use his authority to defend the purity of our faith, not
        to endanger it.

        2. Communing with heretics is being heretical. Members of a "Church"
        that has a heretical stand are heretics even if they do not share the
        views of their hierarchs, as long as they fail to break communion
        with them.

        3. Paradoxically, those who refused to follow their bishop to
        parasynagogues are accused of creating a parasynagogue themselves by
        their very refusal to commune with parasynagogues. In fact, the
        faithful had to break with the bishop, even before a synodal
        judgement did take place, according to the tradition and canons.

        4. The commission that defrocked the priests did so without hearing
        the accused and judged them in spite of not being informed of
        essential elements of the case, as was evidenced by our recent
        correspondence with you and Father Pavlenko. So therefore, that act
        of defrocking seems to be illegitimate and condemns its authors
        rather than the "defrocked" ones.

        5. The two Fathers de Castelbajac were received back by the Synod.
        They still do not commemorate Vl Ambrose, and repented only
        for "participating in the schism", not for refusing to obey the
        bishop. That means that the Synod accepts that one may be in the
        Church and not obey the diocesan bishop Ambrose. If one person may
        not obey his diocesan bishop, why should the others? Are the little
        ones more imune than the two "repenting priests" to the danger of
        heresy? The inconsistency reaches here an unprecedented height, as
        the priests were repeatedly told, before their exclusion, that they
        had to obey the bishop first, before any talk could take place.

        6. At least one member of the defrocking commission is known to have
        communed with heretics himself some time ago. He was thus evidently
        not an appropriate judge in this case. From his angle, he would be
        condemning himself by not condemning the priests, as the latter
        denounced a similar offence in the bishop. In the eyes of God, maybe
        this judge did condemn himself anyway. A judgement pronounced without
        hearing the accused is a sin. Even Christ will hear us at the last
        judgement (we would better prepare our defence).

        7. We were recently advised by one of its nuns that the Bussy sur
        Othe monastery in France (Eulogian parasynagogue having adopted the
        Met Sergius declaration, in communion with the heretical MP and the
        Constantinople Patriarchate) has recently received financial support
        from Metropolitan Lavr, in spite of our Church having anathematised
        both ecumenism and sergianism. I suppose this cannot be explained by
        Met. Lavr advanced age, but this is definitely inconsistent.

        PS I have got problems with my computers too. I seem not to be able
        to have my house network to function. I am afraid it might be a
        hardware problem. Maybe Father Alexander might come to my help. There
        was a time when it did work, then a computer was infected by a virus,
        and disinfected in the shop. When I reinstalled it, I could not have
        the network function any longer. Any clue or suggestion? If you are
        kind enough to pay attention to my problem, please do reply, but
        reply to the above message first.

        In God,

        Vladimir Kozyreff



        --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@w...>
        wrote:
        > Without extraneous comments, here are extracts from two documents
        signed by
        > Metropolitan Vitaly in the past few months:
        >
        > ====================================
        >
        > March 11, 2002, Letter to Archbishop Lazarus (in Russia)
        >
        > "Your Eminence, Deear Vladyko!
        >
        > May God bless your consecrations of new bishops. It is incumbent
        upon you
        > to create your own Hierarchical Synod, which would be in concord
        with our
        > Hierarchical Synod. At the next Hierarchical Sobor I will inform
        all of our
        > hierarchs about this situation. Let us be with Russia of one mind
        and of
        > one soul, while having separate administrations. The very life of
        the
        > Church virtually dictates this to us.
        >
        >
        > May Christ protect you and may His All-Holy Mother cover you with
        Her
        > Omophorion.
        >
        > Your sincere well-wisher."
        >
        > (Original signed: +Metropolitan Vitaly) (On official ROCE
        stationery).
        >
        > See:
        >
        > http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-213.htm
        >
        > for the Russian original.
        >
        > ================================
        >
        > August 8/21, 2002 (five months later)
        >
        > From the "Resolution of the Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church
        Outside
        > of Russia Regarding the Consecrations Performed by Archbishop
        Lazarus and
        > Bishop Benjamin":
        >
        > "It has become known to us, that in the past few days, yet a fourth
        > episcopal consecration has been performed by Archbishop Lazarus and
        Bishop
        > Benjamin.
        >
        > "This was done without the consent and knowledge of the Sobor of
        Bishops of
        > the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Such actions are
        subject to
        > ecclesiastical condemnation."
        >
        > "We, the Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
        state
        > that we do not accept these anti-Sobor consecrations. . ."
        >
        > "We can only conclude, that by their illegal actions, the Right
        Reverend
        > Lazarus and Benjamin and those with them are placing themselves
        outside of
        > the structure of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia."
        >
        > Signed:
        >
        > +Metropolitan Vitaly (on official ROCE stationery)
        >
        > (Also signing were Archbishop Varnava, and Bishops Sergei,
        Vladimir, and
        > Bartholomew)"
        >
        > Full Russian text at:
        >
        > http://www.russia-talk.com/otkliki/ot-238.htm
        >
        >
        > Comments seem to be unneccesary. . .
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > With love in Christ,
        >
        > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
      • Fr. Alexander Lebedeff
        ... The issue is not who is most mentally fit. The fact is that Metropolitan Vitaly formally **retired** and asked for a new First Hierarch to be elected.
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 6, 2002
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          >Dear Father Alexander, bless.
          >
          >Thank you for drawing our attention to the inconstancies of Met.
          >Vitaly's messages. I agree with you that they are disturbing.
          >
          >I think however that you will approve the following thought: however
          >strongly I stress them, the mistakes, shortcomings or sins of my
          >neighbour do not excuse mine in any way. Accusing others will never
          >make me right if I am wrong. It would certainly be a poor strategy
          >for the last judgement.
          >
          >Whatever the mental, physical or other incompetence of Metr.
          >Vitaly's, and however it might aggravate itself in the future, the
          >problem is not to chose between Met. Vitaly and Met. Lavr, after
          >deciding who is most mentally fit.


          The issue is not who is most mentally fit. The fact is that Metropolitan
          Vitaly formally **retired** and asked for a new First Hierarch to be elected.

          After that election, Metropolitan Vitaly came into the Synod meeting room,
          where the Sobor of Bishops was assembled, and congratulated Metropolitan
          Laurus with his election, wished him well, and again reiterated that he
          (Metropolitan Vitaly) was tired and happy to now be retired.

          Vladimir, I was there at the Synod when it happened.

          No one can **choose** to be with Metropolitan Vitaly after his retirement
          and the election of a new First Hierarch.

          I was present at the whole sordid affair when the elder Metropolitan was
          lured out of the Synod building and then whisked away in the car of Fr.
          Vladimir Shishkoff (in which, "completely by chance" Metropolitan Vitaly
          was sitting).

          And after this, a whole series of contradictory statements, all signed by
          Metropolitan Vitaly, began to appear.

          First, he announced the formation of a new Church--the Russian Orthodox
          Church in Exile.

          Then he announhced that this had been an error, and that they would be
          returning to use the name "Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia."

          An edict comes out declaring the breaking of communion with Metr. Cyprian
          of Fili.

          Soon after, a new edict comes out declaring that the previous edict was
          rescinded.

          Then, another edict comes out rescinding the recission.

          Metropolitan Vitaly writes to the Russian bishops that he blesses their
          consecrations of new bishops and even the formation of an independent Synod
          in Russia.

          Then, a few months later, when these consecrations take place, he signs an
          edict condemning these consecrations as anti-canonical.

          And so on.

          It should be clear to the unbiased reader that someone is manipulating the
          aged Metropolitan, or that he does not realize what he is doing.


          >The problem is : to obey or not to
          >obey a heretical bishop.

          You are talking about Bishop Ambrose here.

          Who has declared him to be a "heretical bishop"?

          You?

          Believe me, not a single bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
          Russia considers Bishop Ambrose to be a heretic.

          So you put your own opinion above theirs? Above those who have been
          invested by God Himself with the authority to "rightly divide the word of
          truth"?

          >
          >
          >The inconstancy of Mt. Vitaly does not change anything about the
          >proposals below. The latter refer to monstrous inconsistencies about
          >which somebody will have to answer, sooner or later, before men,
          >before the Church and before Christ. For there is nothing hidden that
          >will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known
          >or brought out into the open. (Luke 8:16-18)
          >
          >
          >1. Vl Ambrose did transgress the canons in communing with a
          >parasynagogue, made of heretical schismatics (the Eulogians).

          First of all, none of the bishops of the Church Abroad considers the
          Parisian Exharchate to be a parasynagogue. It is an exharchate of the
          Ecumenical Patriarchate, which not one of the bishops of the Church Abroad
          considers to be a heretical parasynagogue. Every bishop of the Church
          Abroad considers the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be a grace-filled Orthodox
          Church, which is beset by the ills of new-calendarism and ecumenism--but is
          not outside the Church.

          The Eulogians were, at one point, declared to be schismatics by the bishops
          of the Church Abroad and their mysteries to be invalid.

          However, in 1934, Metropolitan Anthony removed and rescinded all of the
          sanctions against Metropolitan Eulogy and read a prayer of absolution over him.

          The Church Abroad has never reinstated the sanctions against the Eulogians
          and their successors.



          > Vl
          >Ambrose did transgress the canons openly, in public and repeatedly.

          How? By concelebrating with those the Church Abroad considers not to be
          heretics?

          Archbishop St. John (Maximovich) and Archbishop Anthony of Geneva
          consistently concelebrated with Eulogian clergy.

          The father of our Cathedral Choir Director, Fr. Michael Sokoloff, was an
          Archpriest in Paris in the Paris Exharchate throughout the time when
          Archbishop St. John was there. Our choir director said that very frequently
          Archbishop John would call Fr. Michael, or just show up, and they would go
          the Church and serve there together.

          You are accusing Archbishop St. John of trampling the Canons?

          Also, anyone living in France knows that the Scout Camp (Vitiaz Camp) in
          France was jointly served by both the Church Abroad and the Parisian
          Exharchate.

          More trampling of the Canons by Archbishop St. John?

          >He instructed his flock to do the same, even when they expressed
          >astonishment.

          None of the flock expressed any astonishment when Bishop Ambrose's
          predecessors had the same concelebrations.



          > He used his authority to encourage communion with
          >heretics

          This is simply nonsense.

          What heretics?

          Arians? Nestorians? Iconoclasts?




          >and to silence orthodox resistance to his innovations.

          Innovations?

          Concelebrations with the Paris Exharchate, the Serbian Patriarchate, and
          with New Calendarists had been going on in Western Europe for **decades**.

          How can they be called "innovations"?




          > A
          >bishop must use his authority to defend the purity of our faith, not
          >to endanger it.

          Agreed.

          Do you believe that Archbishop St. John was endangeing the faith when he
          concelebrated with Eulogians and New Calendarists?




          >2. Communing with heretics is being heretical. Members of a "Church"
          >that has a heretical stand are heretics even if they do not share the
          >views of their hierarchs, as long as they fail to break communion
          >with them.

          This is absolute nonsense.

          Following this deranged thinking would lead to the conclusion that no
          Orthodox Christian in the world could be sure that they are not
          heretics--because somewhere, at that moment, some bishop might express a
          heretical teaching--and then, POOF!--every single member of his Church, and
          every single member of any Church in communion with his Church would
          instantaneously become heretics and lose their salvation.

          Do you honestly believe that the Lord established His Church with a myriad
          of tricky trap-doors that the faithful could fall into unwittingly and thus
          lose their salvation?

          Do you believe that instead of trying to overcome their human weaknesses
          and passions and living a life in accordance with Christ's teachings--every
          Orthodox Christian has to live a life of paranoia--always wondering whether
          some bishop somewhere who is in communion with their own bishop might fall
          into heresy and then their (the Orthodox Christians') salvation is
          immediately lost?

          What kind of an unjust and cruel God do you believe in that would do this
          to the faithful members of His Holy Church?



          >3. Paradoxically, those who refused to follow their bishop to
          >parasynagogues

          The Church Abroad does not consider the Ecumenical Patriarchate or its
          exharchates to be parasynagogues **and never has**.



          >are accused of creating a parasynagogue themselves by
          >their very refusal to commune with parasynagogues. In fact, the
          >faithful had to break with the bishop, even before a synodal
          >judgement did take place, according to the tradition and canons.

          Exactly what heresy did Bishop Ambrose teach "openly and bare-headedly" in
          Church?

          It would be much more fruitful for the faithful to strive for their
          salvation, in full obedience to their bishop who is teaching no heresy at
          all, but acting exactly as had his predecessors.



          >4. The commission that defrocked the priests did so without hearing
          >the accused and judged them in spite of not being informed of
          >essential elements of the case, as was evidenced by our recent
          >correspondence with you and Father Pavlenko. So therefore, that act
          >of defrocking seems to be illegitimate and condemns its authors
          >rather than the "defrocked" ones.


          Absolutely untrue.

          The "accused" were clearly heard, since their positions were outlined in
          several written statements and "open letters," which all of the members of
          the commission had read. Both Frs. George Larin and Stefan Pavlenko were
          sent to Europe and met or spoke with by telephone with the "accused." The
          "accused" were also summoned to a special Synod Meeting at the time of the
          consecration of Bishop Agapit--and did not show up. They continued to serve
          despite having been suspended--and thus were subject to automatic
          deposition--even without a hearing.




          >5. The two Fathers de Castelbajac were received back by the Synod.
          >They still do not commemorate Vl Ambrose, and repented only
          >for "participating in the schism", not for refusing to obey the
          >bishop. That means that the Synod accepts that one may be in the
          >Church and not obey the diocesan bishop Ambrose.

          Illogical conclusion. We have had many historical instances where priests
          in conflict with their diocesan bishop were temporarily placed under the
          First Hierarch directly--this was the situation in our sister parish in Los
          Angeles, after a conflict arose with Archbishop Anthony. The parish (and
          its clergy) were simply placed directly under the Metropolitan.




          > If one person may
          >not obey his diocesan bishop, why should the others? Are the little
          >ones more imune than the two "repenting priests" to the danger of
          >heresy? The inconsistency reaches here an unprecedented height, as
          >the priests were repeatedly told, before their exclusion, that they
          >had to obey the bishop first, before any talk could take place.

          Good management of the Church (economia) allows for many different methods
          being applied in order to return errant clergy and faithful from schism.
          What was said before may not apply, as each situation is resolved according
          to its circumstances.





          >6. At least one member of the defrocking commission is known to have
          >communed with heretics himself some time ago.

          If the clergyman in question had actually communed with heretics, he would
          have been suspended and, if he failed to repent, would have been deposed.

          Every member of the commission was a high-ranking clergyman (a Chancellor
          of a Diocese and two Deans) in good standing in the Church Abroad.




          >He was thus evidently
          >not an appropriate judge in this case. From his angle, he would be
          >condemning himself by not condemning the priests, as the latter
          >denounced a similar offence in the bishop. In the eyes of God, maybe
          >this judge did condemn himself anyway. A judgement pronounced without
          >hearing the accused is a sin. Even Christ will hear us at the last
          >judgement (we would better prepare our defence).

          When the accused fail to appear, as happened with the "French clergy" when
          they were summoned -- then they are tried in absentia. And, since they
          dared to serve under suspension, they are subject to deposition even
          without a hearing.






          >7. We were recently advised by one of its nuns that the Bussy sur
          >Othe monastery in France (Eulogian parasynagogue having adopted the
          >Met Sergius declaration, in communion with the heretical MP and the
          >Constantinople Patriarchate) has recently received financial support
          >from Metropolitan Lavr, in spite of our Church having anathematised
          >both ecumenism and sergianism. I suppose this cannot be explained by
          >Met. Lavr advanced age, but this is definitely inconsistent.

          Metropolitan Laurus is 75 this year--hardly an "advanced age" for a bishop
          (we have had many bishops serve in full mental capacity throughout their
          eighties and some into their nineties).

          The Church Abroad has never officially declared that either the Moscow
          Patriarchate or the Constantinople Patriarchate is heretical, so your
          premise is false, on its face.

          From the times of Metropolitan Anthony, the Church Abroad has always tried
          to send out feelers of kindness to the members of the Paris
          Exharchate--"olive branches," if you will--striving to reestablish the
          unity of the Russian Church.

          You remember the directive of the 1993 Council of Bishops--"we must
          strive to reestablish the unity of all of the parts of the Russian Church,
          sundered by historical realities, without any condemnations or
          recriminations. . ."



          With love in Christ,

          Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
        • vkozyreff
          Dear Father Alexander, bless. You write: What heretics? Arians? Nestorians? Iconoclasts? As I have repeated many times on this forum, to be a heretic, it is
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 7, 2002
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            Dear Father Alexander, bless.

            You write:

            "What heretics? Arians? Nestorians? Iconoclasts?



            As I have repeated many times on this forum, to be a heretic, it is
            enough to follow one's own choice or opinion instead of divine truth
            preserved by the Church, so as to cause division among Christians.

            A heresy needs not be a major heresy to be a heresy.

            Heresy is a system of thought which contradicts true doctrine.

            It is false teaching, which all true Christians must reject (Matt.
            7:15; 2 Pet. 2:1)."

            Heresy is any obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which
            must be believed with divine and orthodox faith.

            Heresy is any opinion or doctrine at variance with religious
            orthodoxy.

            For the sake of clarity, ecumensim is a heresy, and sergianism too.

            Anathema is the spiritual suspension with which the Church may expel
            a person from her community for various reasons, especially denial of
            the faith or other mortal sins. The Church also may proclaim an
            anathema against the enemies of the faith, such as heretics and
            traitors (sergianists, for example), in a special service conducted
            on the Sunday of Orthodoxy (first Sunday of Lent).



            We have heard that many, saying they are Catholic, are living a life
            in common with Jews and pagans [...] in diverse errors, maintaining
            that they are not being harmed. [...] A great and deadly error! Pope
            Adrian I


            I grieve for having been, if only for an hour, in communion with
            guilty men. St. Martin of Tours


            It is an illusion to seek the company of sinners on the pretence of
            reforming them or of converting them; it is far more to be feared
            that they will spread their poison to us. St. Gregory Nazianzen


            Do not converse with heretics even for the sake of defending the
            faith, for fear lest their words instil their poison in your mind.
            Bl. Isaias


            For if they have doctrines opposed to ours, it is not fitting to be
            mixed up with them for this cause alone. [...] What do you
            say? "Their faith is the same; these men are orthodox"? Why, then,
            are they not with us? St. John Chysostom


            It is therefore unlawful, and a profanation, and an act the
            punishment of which is death, to love to associate with unholy
            heretics, and to unite yourself to their communion. St. Cyril of
            Alexandria


            But if you embrace the errors of these nations that dwell among you,
            and make marriages with them, and join friendships, know ye for a
            certainty that [...] they shall be a snare and a pit in your way, and
            a stumbling-block at your side, and stakes in your eyes, til the Lord
            your God take you away and destroy you. Josue 23:13


            You help the ungodly, and you are joined in friendship with those who
            hate the Lord; and therefore you did indeed deserve the wrath of the
            Lord. II Paralipomenon 19:2


            The accursed perversity of heretics [...] has so increased that now
            they exercise their wickedness not in secret, but manifest their
            error publicly, and win over the weak and simple-minded to their
            opinion. For this reason, We resolve to cast them, their defenders,
            and their receivers under anathema, and We forbid under anathema that
            any one presume to help heretics or to do business with heretics. III
            Lateran Council


            Saints Peter and Paul, in their Epistles, have loathed heretics, and
            warned us to avoid them. St. Cyprian


            St. Paul commands that a heretic be avoided after two warnings, that
            is, after showing himself to be manifestly obstinate. And this is
            what St. Jerome writes, adding that other sinners are excluded from
            the Church by excommunication, whereas heretics exile themselves on
            their own from the Body of Christ. St. Robert Bellarmine


            Outside are dogs. Apocalypse 22:13


            What fellowship does a holy man have with a dog? Ecclesiasticus 13:22


            Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what concord
            does Christ have with Belial? Or what part do the faithful have with
            the unbeliever? [...] Wherefore, go out from among them and be ye
            separate, says the Lord. II Corinthians 6:14-17


            Separate yourself from your enemies. Ecclesiasticus 6:13


            I have always regarded the Church's enemies as my own. St. Jerome


            Heresy is everywhere an enemy to Catholics. St. Gregory of Tours


            If any man who is called a brother be a servant of idols, with such a
            man do not keep company, not so much as to eat. I Corinthians 5:11


            I will not communicate with the choicest of them. [...] Depart from
            me, ye malignant ones! Psalm 140:4; 118:115


            John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and
            finding Cerinthus inside, rushed out of the bath-house without
            bathing, shouting: "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down,
            for Cerinthuis, an enemy of truth is inside!" And Polycarp himself
            replied to Marcion who met him on one occasion asking: "Do you know
            me?" "I do know you," replied Polycarp: "I know you to be the first-
            born of Satan!" Such was the horror which the Apostles and their
            disciples had against even holding even verbal communication with any
            corrupters of truth. St. Irenaeus of Lyons



            The major heresies fall into three categories: heresies of the nature
            of Christ; heresies of the Trinity; and heresies of man and
            salvation.

            Heresies of Christ

            The orthodox idea of Christ was that he is fully God, yet existed as
            fully human, the two natures being "eternally distinct and uniquely
            united" at the same time, and that he suffered as a human.

            Apollinarianism

            (named for Apollinarius) Belief that Christ had no soul, but rather
            was filled with logos, or the Word, and was neither fully human nor
            fully divine.

            Arianism

            (named for Arius) Belief that the Father existed before the Son, the
            Son was created by the Father, and there was a time when the Son did
            not exist.

            Docetism

            (from the Greek word dokesis, which means to seem) Belief that Christ
            was wholly God, and his humanity and suffering only seemed to be
            real.

            Dynamic Monarchianism

            Claimed Jesus Christ was simply a man, whom God filled with an
            impersonal power, either at his conception, baptism, or resurrection.
            This denies Christ taking any personality from God, and teaches that
            Christ "became" God.

            Ebionitism

            Belief that Jesus was nothing more that a prophet: a man, but not
            divin. Named after the Ebionites, a first-century Jewish-Christian
            sect who emphasized Jewish law and rejected Paul's teachings.

            Eutychianism

            (name after Eutyches of Constantinople) belief that Christ had only a
            divine nature, not a human one.

            Monophysitism

            This heresy denies the humanity of Christ. It removes the value of
            Christ's redemptive work, because it denies that Christ suffered as a
            man. It declares that Christ had a single (mono), divine, nature.
            This doctrine is still taught by the Oriental Orthodox churches:
            Coptic Church of Egypt; Ethiopian Orthodox; Syrian Orthodox; Armenian
            Orthodox; and Malankara (Indian) Orthodox.

            Monothelitism

            Belief that Jesus posessed one divine-human energia, not two
            cooperating (divine and human) wills. Still held by the Maronite
            Church in Syria.

            Nestorianism

            (named for Netstorius) Belief that God was not in Christ and that
            Mary gave birth only to the human Jesus. Nestorianism teaches that
            Jesus was filled with the logos, that only the human part of Jesus
            suffered and died, and that man simply needs an infilling of logos
            for salvation.

            Noeticism

            (named for Noetus) Belief that God moved as a single spirit into
            Mary, and was transferred into Christ at birth. God himself was
            crucified and raised himself from the dead.

            Heresies of the Trinity

            The orthodox idea of the Trinity is that God (the Father), Jesus
            Christ (the Son), and the Holy Spirit are simultaneously three
            distinct beings, and all the same being, none subserviant to another,
            all three with complete equality and a single will. There was no time
            when any did not exist.

            Macedonianism

            (named for Macedonius) Denied the diety of the Holy Spirit, asserting
            it was a servent, similar to the angels.

            Monarchianism

            The denial of three seperate beings in the Trinity. A famous
            Monarchianist, Sabellian, claimed the three persons of God are three
            facets of one personality, in the way that the sun is simultaneously
            hot, round, and bright. He became so associated with Monarchianism,
            that in the early church, heresy of any kind was called Sabellianism.

            Modalist Monarchianism

            Held that God was a single being, and that Father / Son / Spirit were
            simply three modes of the same being, only one being possible at a
            time. Taken to its logical extreme, it would have been impossible for
            the Spirit to descend as a dove and God's voice to be heard during
            Christ's baptism.

            Subordinationism

            Any doctrine that subordinates one being of the Trinity to another.
            Heresies of Man and Salvation
            The orthodox idea of man and his need for salvation is that God
            already knows all who are chosen for eternal life (the elect), yet
            man has the free will to choose whether or not to believe in Christ's
            redemptive work. These concepts hold so many paradoxes that men have
            frequently attempted to reconcile them with logic, leading to many
            heresies.

            Donatism

            (name for Donatus the Great) belief that the validity of a church
            office is determined by the "personal holiness" of the individual;
            that "morally unworthy" individuals are not qualified to perform the
            ecclessial duties of their office.

            Marcionism

            (named after Marcion) a denial that the Old Testament "Creator God of
            the Jews" and the "God of Goodness" revealed in the New Testament are
            the same God. Marcion developed a canon consisting of Luke and ten
            Pauline epistles, with all references to the Old Testament removed.

            Pelagianism

            (named for Pelagius) Claims that sin is a choice, and by choosing not
            to sin, man reach salvation on his own without need for Christ's
            forgiveness of sin.

            In God,

            Vladimir Kozyreff



            --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@w...>
            wrote:
            >
            > >Dear Father Alexander, bless.
            > >
            > >Thank you for drawing our attention to the inconstancies of Met.
            > >Vitaly's messages. I agree with you that they are disturbing.
            > >
            > >I think however that you will approve the following thought:
            however
            > >strongly I stress them, the mistakes, shortcomings or sins of my
            > >neighbour do not excuse mine in any way. Accusing others will never
            > >make me right if I am wrong. It would certainly be a poor strategy
            > >for the last judgement.
            > >
            > >Whatever the mental, physical or other incompetence of Metr.
            > >Vitaly's, and however it might aggravate itself in the future, the
            > >problem is not to chose between Met. Vitaly and Met. Lavr, after
            > >deciding who is most mentally fit.
            >
            >
            > The issue is not who is most mentally fit. The fact is that
            Metropolitan
            > Vitaly formally **retired** and asked for a new First Hierarch to
            be elected.
            >
            > After that election, Metropolitan Vitaly came into the Synod
            meeting room,
            > where the Sobor of Bishops was assembled, and congratulated
            Metropolitan
            > Laurus with his election, wished him well, and again reiterated
            that he
            > (Metropolitan Vitaly) was tired and happy to now be retired.
            >
            > Vladimir, I was there at the Synod when it happened.
            >
            > No one can **choose** to be with Metropolitan Vitaly after his
            retirement
            > and the election of a new First Hierarch.
            >
            > I was present at the whole sordid affair when the elder
            Metropolitan was
            > lured out of the Synod building and then whisked away in the car of
            Fr.
            > Vladimir Shishkoff (in which, "completely by chance" Metropolitan
            Vitaly
            > was sitting).
            >
            > And after this, a whole series of contradictory statements, all
            signed by
            > Metropolitan Vitaly, began to appear.
            >
            > First, he announced the formation of a new Church--the Russian
            Orthodox
            > Church in Exile.
            >
            > Then he announhced that this had been an error, and that they would
            be
            > returning to use the name "Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
            Russia."
            >
            > An edict comes out declaring the breaking of communion with Metr.
            Cyprian
            > of Fili.
            >
            > Soon after, a new edict comes out declaring that the previous edict
            was
            > rescinded.
            >
            > Then, another edict comes out rescinding the recission.
            >
            > Metropolitan Vitaly writes to the Russian bishops that he blesses
            their
            > consecrations of new bishops and even the formation of an
            independent Synod
            > in Russia.
            >
            > Then, a few months later, when these consecrations take place, he
            signs an
            > edict condemning these consecrations as anti-canonical.
            >
            > And so on.
            >
            > It should be clear to the unbiased reader that someone is
            manipulating the
            > aged Metropolitan, or that he does not realize what he is doing.
            >
            >
            > >The problem is : to obey or not to
            > >obey a heretical bishop.
            >
            > You are talking about Bishop Ambrose here.
            >
            > Who has declared him to be a "heretical bishop"?
            >
            > You?
            >
            > Believe me, not a single bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church
            Outside of
            > Russia considers Bishop Ambrose to be a heretic.
            >
            > So you put your own opinion above theirs? Above those who have been
            > invested by God Himself with the authority to "rightly divide the
            word of
            > truth"?
            >
            > >
            > >
            > >The inconstancy of Mt. Vitaly does not change anything about the
            > >proposals below. The latter refer to monstrous inconsistencies
            about
            > >which somebody will have to answer, sooner or later, before men,
            > >before the Church and before Christ. For there is nothing hidden
            that
            > >will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known
            > >or brought out into the open. (Luke 8:16-18)
            > >
            > >
            > >1. Vl Ambrose did transgress the canons in communing with a
            > >parasynagogue, made of heretical schismatics (the Eulogians).
            >
            > First of all, none of the bishops of the Church Abroad considers
            the
            > Parisian Exharchate to be a parasynagogue. It is an exharchate of
            the
            > Ecumenical Patriarchate, which not one of the bishops of the
            Church Abroad
            > considers to be a heretical parasynagogue. Every bishop of the
            Church
            > Abroad considers the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be a grace-filled
            Orthodox
            > Church, which is beset by the ills of new-calendarism and ecumenism-
            -but is
            > not outside the Church.
            >
            > The Eulogians were, at one point, declared to be schismatics by the
            bishops
            > of the Church Abroad and their mysteries to be invalid.
            >
            > However, in 1934, Metropolitan Anthony removed and rescinded all of
            the
            > sanctions against Metropolitan Eulogy and read a prayer of
            absolution over him.
            >
            > The Church Abroad has never reinstated the sanctions against the
            Eulogians
            > and their successors.
            >
            >
            >
            > > Vl
            > >Ambrose did transgress the canons openly, in public and repeatedly.
            >
            > How? By concelebrating with those the Church Abroad considers not
            to be
            > heretics?
            >
            > Archbishop St. John (Maximovich) and Archbishop Anthony of Geneva
            > consistently concelebrated with Eulogian clergy.
            >
            > The father of our Cathedral Choir Director, Fr. Michael Sokoloff,
            was an
            > Archpriest in Paris in the Paris Exharchate throughout the time
            when
            > Archbishop St. John was there. Our choir director said that very
            frequently
            > Archbishop John would call Fr. Michael, or just show up, and they
            would go
            > the Church and serve there together.
            >
            > You are accusing Archbishop St. John of trampling the Canons?
            >
            > Also, anyone living in France knows that the Scout Camp (Vitiaz
            Camp) in
            > France was jointly served by both the Church Abroad and the
            Parisian
            > Exharchate.
            >
            > More trampling of the Canons by Archbishop St. John?
            >
            > >He instructed his flock to do the same, even when they expressed
            > >astonishment.
            >
            > None of the flock expressed any astonishment when Bishop Ambrose's
            > predecessors had the same concelebrations.
            >
            >
            >
            > > He used his authority to encourage communion with
            > >heretics
            >
            > This is simply nonsense.
            >
            > What heretics?
            >
            > Arians? Nestorians? Iconoclasts?
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > >and to silence orthodox resistance to his innovations.
            >
            > Innovations?
            >
            > Concelebrations with the Paris Exharchate, the Serbian
            Patriarchate, and
            > with New Calendarists had been going on in Western Europe for
            **decades**.
            >
            > How can they be called "innovations"?
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > > A
            > >bishop must use his authority to defend the purity of our faith,
            not
            > >to endanger it.
            >
            > Agreed.
            >
            > Do you believe that Archbishop St. John was endangeing the faith
            when he
            > concelebrated with Eulogians and New Calendarists?
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > >2. Communing with heretics is being heretical. Members of
            a "Church"
            > >that has a heretical stand are heretics even if they do not share
            the
            > >views of their hierarchs, as long as they fail to break communion
            > >with them.
            >
            > This is absolute nonsense.
            >
            > Following this deranged thinking would lead to the conclusion that
            no
            > Orthodox Christian in the world could be sure that they are not
            > heretics--because somewhere, at that moment, some bishop might
            express a
            > heretical teaching--and then, POOF!--every single member of his
            Church, and
            > every single member of any Church in communion with his Church
            would
            > instantaneously become heretics and lose their salvation.
            >
            > Do you honestly believe that the Lord established His Church with a
            myriad
            > of tricky trap-doors that the faithful could fall into unwittingly
            and thus
            > lose their salvation?
            >
            > Do you believe that instead of trying to overcome their human
            weaknesses
            > and passions and living a life in accordance with Christ's
            teachings--every
            > Orthodox Christian has to live a life of paranoia--always wondering
            whether
            > some bishop somewhere who is in communion with their own bishop
            might fall
            > into heresy and then their (the Orthodox Christians') salvation is
            > immediately lost?
            >
            > What kind of an unjust and cruel God do you believe in that would
            do this
            > to the faithful members of His Holy Church?
            >
            >
            >
            > >3. Paradoxically, those who refused to follow their bishop to
            > >parasynagogues
            >
            > The Church Abroad does not consider the Ecumenical Patriarchate or
            its
            > exharchates to be parasynagogues **and never has**.
            >
            >
            >
            > >are accused of creating a parasynagogue themselves by
            > >their very refusal to commune with parasynagogues. In fact, the
            > >faithful had to break with the bishop, even before a synodal
            > >judgement did take place, according to the tradition and canons.
            >
            > Exactly what heresy did Bishop Ambrose teach "openly and bare-
            headedly" in
            > Church?
            >
            > It would be much more fruitful for the faithful to strive for their
            > salvation, in full obedience to their bishop who is teaching no
            heresy at
            > all, but acting exactly as had his predecessors.
            >
            >
            >
            > >4. The commission that defrocked the priests did so without hearing
            > >the accused and judged them in spite of not being informed of
            > >essential elements of the case, as was evidenced by our recent
            > >correspondence with you and Father Pavlenko. So therefore, that act
            > >of defrocking seems to be illegitimate and condemns its authors
            > >rather than the "defrocked" ones.
            >
            >
            > Absolutely untrue.
            >
            > The "accused" were clearly heard, since their positions were
            outlined in
            > several written statements and "open letters," which all of the
            members of
            > the commission had read. Both Frs. George Larin and Stefan Pavlenko
            were
            > sent to Europe and met or spoke with by telephone with
            the "accused." The
            > "accused" were also summoned to a special Synod Meeting at the time
            of the
            > consecration of Bishop Agapit--and did not show up. They continued
            to serve
            > despite having been suspended--and thus were subject to automatic
            > deposition--even without a hearing.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > >5. The two Fathers de Castelbajac were received back by the Synod.
            > >They still do not commemorate Vl Ambrose, and repented only
            > >for "participating in the schism", not for refusing to obey the
            > >bishop. That means that the Synod accepts that one may be in the
            > >Church and not obey the diocesan bishop Ambrose.
            >
            > Illogical conclusion. We have had many historical instances where
            priests
            > in conflict with their diocesan bishop were temporarily placed
            under the
            > First Hierarch directly--this was the situation in our sister
            parish in Los
            > Angeles, after a conflict arose with Archbishop Anthony. The parish
            (and
            > its clergy) were simply placed directly under the Metropolitan.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > > If one person may
            > >not obey his diocesan bishop, why should the others? Are the little
            > >ones more imune than the two "repenting priests" to the danger of
            > >heresy? The inconsistency reaches here an unprecedented height, as
            > >the priests were repeatedly told, before their exclusion, that they
            > >had to obey the bishop first, before any talk could take place.
            >
            > Good management of the Church (economia) allows for many different
            methods
            > being applied in order to return errant clergy and faithful from
            schism.
            > What was said before may not apply, as each situation is resolved
            according
            > to its circumstances.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > >6. At least one member of the defrocking commission is known to
            have
            > >communed with heretics himself some time ago.
            >
            > If the clergyman in question had actually communed with heretics,
            he would
            > have been suspended and, if he failed to repent, would have been
            deposed.
            >
            > Every member of the commission was a high-ranking clergyman (a
            Chancellor
            > of a Diocese and two Deans) in good standing in the Church Abroad.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > >He was thus evidently
            > >not an appropriate judge in this case. From his angle, he would be
            > >condemning himself by not condemning the priests, as the latter
            > >denounced a similar offence in the bishop. In the eyes of God,
            maybe
            > >this judge did condemn himself anyway. A judgement pronounced
            without
            > >hearing the accused is a sin. Even Christ will hear us at the last
            > >judgement (we would better prepare our defence).
            >
            > When the accused fail to appear, as happened with the "French
            clergy" when
            > they were summoned -- then they are tried in absentia. And, since
            they
            > dared to serve under suspension, they are subject to deposition
            even
            > without a hearing.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > >7. We were recently advised by one of its nuns that the Bussy sur
            > >Othe monastery in France (Eulogian parasynagogue having adopted the
            > >Met Sergius declaration, in communion with the heretical MP and the
            > >Constantinople Patriarchate) has recently received financial
            support
            > >from Metropolitan Lavr, in spite of our Church having anathematised
            > >both ecumenism and sergianism. I suppose this cannot be explained
            by
            > >Met. Lavr advanced age, but this is definitely inconsistent.
            >
            > Metropolitan Laurus is 75 this year--hardly an "advanced age" for a
            bishop
            > (we have had many bishops serve in full mental capacity throughout
            their
            > eighties and some into their nineties).
            >
            > The Church Abroad has never officially declared that either the
            Moscow
            > Patriarchate or the Constantinople Patriarchate is heretical, so
            your
            > premise is false, on its face.
            >
            > From the times of Metropolitan Anthony, the Church Abroad has
            always tried
            > to send out feelers of kindness to the members of the Paris
            > Exharchate--"olive branches," if you will--striving to reestablish
            the
            > unity of the Russian Church.
            >
            > You remember the directive of the 1993 Council of Bishops--"we
            must
            > strive to reestablish the unity of all of the parts of the Russian
            Church,
            > sundered by historical realities, without any condemnations or
            > recriminations. . ."
            >
            >
            >
            > With love in Christ,
            >
            > Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
          • Margaret Lark
            From: jfraese Date: Sun, 08 Sep 2002 22:31:13 -0000 ... Just out of curiosity - can you tell me how continuing this discussion will
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 9, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              From: "jfraese" <jfraese@...>
              Date: Sun, 08 Sep 2002 22:31:13 -0000

              >...Perhaps we need to just continue to debate the issues without
              >actually attacking the motives of those involved in the debate, and
              >just assume that everyone is trying to be honest and trying get to
              >the bottom of things...

              Just out of curiosity - can you tell me how continuing this discussion will help you, me, or anyone else on this list to work out our own salvation?

              In Christ,
              Margaret Lark

              --
              Glory to God for all things!
              --
            • jfraese
              Dear Margaret, Is it important for our salvation that we be united with the Church? If it is, then wouldn t a discussion that deals with the question of where
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 9, 2002
              • 0 Attachment
                Dear Margaret,

                Is it important for our salvation that we be united with the Church?

                If it is, then wouldn't a discussion that deals with the question of
                where the Church is be of relevance to our salvation?

                One can either read and benefit from the knowledge gained in the
                discussion, or read and become scandalized by the discussion... but
                as far as I can see, there's no point in putting my head in the sand
                and pretending that there's no relevancy to the issues discussed
                here, so I appreciate the dialogue.

                I apologize for being so inarticulate and offensive. Please forgive
                me.

                In Christ,
                Joshua Fraese


                --- In orthodox-synod@y..., "Margaret Lark" <skovranok@t...> wrote:
                > From: "jfraese" <jfraese@i...>
                > Date: Sun, 08 Sep 2002 22:31:13 -0000
                >
                > >...Perhaps we need to just continue to debate the issues without
                > >actually attacking the motives of those involved in the debate,
                and
                > >just assume that everyone is trying to be honest and trying get to
                > >the bottom of things...
                >
                > Just out of curiosity - can you tell me how continuing this
                discussion will help you, me, or anyone else on this list to work out
                our own salvation?
                >
                > In Christ,
                > Margaret Lark
                >
                > --
                > Glory to God for all things!
                > --
              • Margaret Lark
                From: jfraese Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2002 18:15:35 -0000 ... Apparently it is *I* who need to apologize for being offensive, since no
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 10, 2002
                • 0 Attachment
                  From: "jfraese" <jfraese@...>
                  Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2002 18:15:35 -0000

                  >Dear Margaret,
                  >
                  >Is it important for our salvation that we be united with the Church?
                  >
                  >If it is, then wouldn't a discussion that deals with the question of
                  >where the Church is be of relevance to our salvation?

                  >...as far as I can see, there's no point in putting my head in the sand
                  >and pretending that there's no relevancy to the issues discussed
                  >here, so I appreciate the dialogue.

                  >I apologize for being so inarticulate and offensive. Please forgive
                  >me.

                  Apparently it is *I* who need to apologize for being offensive, since no offense was taken. I simply wonder how this discussion helps us to work out our salvation.

                  My point is that we seem to be setting ourselves up as judges of the actions of our clergy. Now, I do know that clergy make mistakes. They've done it before - witness the false union with Florence, historically - and they will do it again. After all, the Church on earth is a hospital for sinners, not a repository of saints.

                  Once before, when I made the mistake of appointing myself judge and jury over someone, my Priest told me, "God will judge their actions. You concentrate on your own salvation." And I've tried to keep this in mind. Even with regard to schismatics - do we as individual Christians have the right to judge who is schismatic and who is not? Isn't that the job of the Church as a whole?

                  I have enough of my own sins to struggle with, without focussing on the sins of the clergy, real or imagined. (I can have a pretty vivid imagination, if I let it get out of hand.) :-) So I would prefer not to worry about (a) the motives of Metr. LAVR; (b) the motives of Metr. VITALY; (c) the motives of ROCE; (d) the motives of ROCA; or (e) the motives of MP people who come into our churches.

                  To respond to another post on this topic, it *is* possible, Mr. Kozyreff, that our patience, love, and "naivete" will win them genuinely to truth - I understand that even now, there is growing opposition within the body of the MP to continued participation in the WCC, and ecumenism in general.

                  The short version - life is short, especially on the down side of fifty, and as someone far better than I once said, "I have not even begun to repent."

                  In Christ,
                  Margaret Lark

                  --
                  Glory to God for all things!
                  --
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