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Re: [orthodox-synod] The Heresy of the Judaizers - part 1

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  • VladMoss@aol.com
    THE HERESY OF THE JUDAIZERS In view of the resurgence of Judaizing thought in RussianOrthodoxy, it may be useful to tell the story of the first major outburst
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 27, 2003
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      In view of the resurgence of Judaizing thought in RussianOrthodoxy, it
      may be useful to tell the story of the first major outburst ofthe Judaizers’
      heresy in Russia 500 years ago.

      The greatestinternal threat to the Muscovite kingdom in the whole of the
      medieval and earlymodern period was provided by the heresy of the Judaisers.
      Russia first cameinto conflict with the Jews in the form of the Khazars, a
      Turkic peopleinhabiting the Volga basin whose leaders had converted to
      Judaism in about 679,thus becoming “the thirteenth tribe” of Israel. In
      965-969 Russian pagan armiesunder Great Prince Syatoslav destroyed the Khazar
      capital at Itel, propellingthe Khazars to migrate towards Western Russia,
      where they were joined, at thebeginning of the sixteenth century, by large
      numbers of Ashkenazi Jews fleeingpersecution in Italy, Provence and Germany.<A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftn1">
      [1]</A>From this time the Jewish community in Poland and the Russian territories
      underPolish dominion in Ukraine and Belorussia began to multiply rapidly…

      The Hungarian Jew ArthurKoestler writes that the Khazars were branching
      out "long before thedestruction of the Khazar state by the Mongols - as
      the ancient Hebrew nationhad started branching into the Diaspora long before
      the destruction ofJerusalem. Ethnically, the Semitic tribes on the waters of
      the Jordan and theTurko-Khazar tribes on the Volga were of course 'miles
      apart', but they had atleast two important formative factors in common. Each
      lived at a focal junctionwhere the great trade routes connecting east and
      west, north and southintersect; a circumstance which predisposed them to
      become nations of traders,of enterprising travellers, or 'rootless
      cosmopolitans' - as hostile propagandahas unaffectionately labelled them. But
      at the same time their exclusivereligion fostered a tendency to keep to
      themselves and stick together, toestablish their own communities with their
      own places of worship, schools,residential quarters and ghettoes (originally
      self-imposed) in whatever town orcountry they settled. This rare combination
      of wanderlust and ghetto-mentality,reinforced by Messianic hopes and
      chosen-race pride, both ancient Israelitesand medieval Khazars shared - even
      though the latter traced their descent notto Shem but to Japheth."<A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftn2">[2]</A>

      The Russian princes placedrestrictions on the Jews and their
      money-lending practices. Vladimir Monomakheven expelled them from the
      country. However, they crept back in, and accordingto Platonov, the Jews
      Anbal and Ofrem Moizovich played a leading part in themurder of Andrew of
      Bogolyubovo in the twelfth century. Platonov writes: “Thetransformation of
      Russia into the spiritual centre of Christian civilisationalmost exactly
      coincided in time with the establishment of a secret JewishTalmudic centre in
      the West Russian lands, which were occupied at that time byPoland and
      Lithuania. Although the entrance of Jews into Russia was cut off bya
      temporary frontier, their gradual secret assault on the stronghold of
      theChristian world was realised inexorably through the appearance of
      variousJewish heretical movements.” <A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftn3">[3]</A>

      The most important of thesemovements was the heresy of the Judaisers,
      when "the whole RussianChurch," as General Nechvolodov writes, &
      quot;had at her head a Judaizer,and the immediate entourage of the sovereign,
      those whom he loved, were alsoJudaizers."<A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftn4">[4]</A>

      The roots of the heresy ofthe Judaisers, writes a publication of the
      Moscow Patriarchate, "go deeperthan is usually imagined. The part played
      by national elements in the heresy,which exploded like epidemics onto
      medieval Europe, has not yet beensufficiently clarified. The acts of the
      inquisition demonstrate that most ofthe sects were Judeo-Christian in
      character with a more or less pronounced Manichaeancolouring. The flourishing
      of the Albigensian heresy in France has beendirectly linked by historians
      with the rise of Jewish influence in thatcountry. The heresy of the Templars,
      'the knights of the Temple', who werecondemned in 1314, was linked with
      esoterical Judaism and blasphemy againstChrist...

      "Judaisers were alsoknown in the Orthodox East. In Salonica in the
      first third of the 14th century'there existed a heretical Judaising society
      in the heart of the Greekpopulation' which had an influence on 'the Bulgarian
      Judaisers of the 40s and50s of the same century'. In 1354 a debate took place
      in Gallipoli between thefamous theologian and hierarch of the Eastern Church
      Gregory Palamas, on theone hand, and the Turks and the Chionians, i.e the
      Judaisers, on the other. In1360 a council meeting in Turnovo, the then
      capital of the Bulgarianpatriarchate, condemned both the opponents of
      Hesychasm (the Barlaamites) andthose who philosophise from the Jewish

      "The successes of theheresy in Russia could be attributed to the
      same cause as its success in Francein the 14th century. Jews streamed into
      the young state of the Ottomans fromthe whole of Western Europe.<A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftn5">[5]</A>Thereafter
      they were able to penetrate without hindrance into the Genoancolonies of the
      Crimea and the Azov sea, and into the region of what had beenKhazaria, where
      the Jewish sect of the Karaites had a large influence; for theyhad many
      adherents in the Crimea and Lithuania and were closely linked withPalestine.
      As the inscriptions on the Jewish cemetery of Chuft-Kale show,colonies of
      Karaites existed in the Crimea from the 2nd to the 18th centuries.The
      Karaites were brought to Lithuania by Prince Vitovt, the hero of the battleof
      Grunwald (1410) and great-grandfather of Ivan III Vasilievich. From therethey
      spread throughout Western Russia.

      "... Onehas to admit that the beginning of the polemic between the
      Orthodox and theheretics was made, not in Byzantium, but in Russia. Besides,
      the polemicbegan... in the time of Metropolitan Peter (+1326), the founder of
      theMuscovite ecclesiastical centre. In the life of St. Peter it is mentioned
      amonghis other exploits for the good of the Russian Church that he 'overcame
      theheretic Seit in debate and anathematised him.’ The hypothesis concerning
      theKaraite origin of the 'Judaisers' allows us to see in Seit a Karaite

      "... The heresy didnot disappear but smouldered under a facade of
      church life in certain circlesof the Orthodox urban population, and the
      Russian church, under the leadershipof her hierarchs, raised herself to an
      unceasing battle with the falseteachings. The landmarks of this battle were:
      Metropolitan Peter's victory overSeit in debate (between 1312 and 1326), the
      unmasking and condemnation of the strigolnikiin Novgorod in the time of
      Metropolitan Alexis (1370s), the overcoming of thisheresy in the time of
      Metropolitan Photius (+1431), and of the heresy of theJudaisers - in the time
      of Archbishop Gennadius of Novgorod (+1505) and St. Josephof Volotsk (+1515).

      "'From the time of theholy Prince Vladimir, the Baptizer of Rus',
      who rejected the solicitations ofthe Khazar Rabbis, wrote St. Joseph of
      Volotsk, 'the great Russian land has for500 years remained in the Orthodox
      Faith, until the enemy of salvation, thedevil, introduced the foul Jew to
      Great Novgorod. On St. Michael's day, 1470,there arrived from Kiev in the
      suite of Prince Michael Olelkovich, who had beeninvited by the veche [the
      Novgorodian parliament], 'the Jew Scharia' and'Zachariah, prince of Taman.
      Later the Lithuanian Rabbis Joseph SmoiloSkaryavei and Moses Khanush also

      "The heresy began tospread quickly. However, 'in the strict sense
      of the word this was not merelyheresy, but complete apostasy from the
      Christian faith and the acceptance ofthe Jewish faith. Using the weaknesses
      of certain clerics, Scharia and hisassistants began to instil distrust of the
      Church hierarchy into thefaint-hearted, inclining them to rebellion against
      spiritual authority,tempting them with 'self-rule', the personal choice of
      each person in thespheres of faith and salvation, inciting the deceived to
      renounce theirMother-Church, blaspheme against the holy icons<A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftn6">[6]</A>and reject
      veneration of the saints - the foundations of popular morality -and, finally,
      to a complete denial of the saving Sacraments and dogmas ofOrthodoxy
      concerning the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation. So they went so faras to
      conduct a Jewish war against God and the substitution of Christ the Saviourby
      the false messiah and antichrist.

      "The false teachingspread in secret. Archbishop Gennadius of
      Novgorod first heard about the heresyin 1487; four members of a secret
      society, while abusing each other in adrunken frenzy, revealed the existence
      of the heresy in front of some Orthodox.The zealous archpastor quickly
      conducted an investigation and with sorrowbecame convinced that not only
      Novgorod, but also the very capital of RussianOrthodoxy, Moscow, was
      threatened. In September 1487 he sent MetropolitanGerontius in Moscow the
      records of the whole investigation in the original.Igumen Joseph (Sanin) of
      the Dormition monastery of Volotsk, who had anunassailable reputation in
      Russian society at the end of the 15th and beginningof the 16th centuries,
      also spoke out against the heresy.

      "But the battle withthe heresy turned out to be no simple matter,
      for the heretics had enlisted thesupport of powerful people in Moscow. Great
      Prince Ivan III, who had beendeceived by the Judaisers, invited them to
      Moscow, and made the two leadingheretics protopriests - one in the Dormition,
      and the other in the Archangelscathedrals in the Kremlin. Some of those close
      to the Tsar, such as TheodoreKurytsyn, who headed the government, and whose
      brother became the heretics'leader, were co-opted into the heresy. The Great
      Prince's bride, HelenaVoloshanka, was converted to Judaism. In 1483 a
      correspondence between Ivan IIIand the heresiarch Scharia himself was
      established through diplomatic channelsbetween Moscow and Bakhchisarai.
      Finally, the heretic Zosima was raised to thesee of the great hierarchs of
      Moscow Peter, Alexis and Jonah."<A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftn7">[7]</A>

      <A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftnref1">[1]</A> PaulJohnson, A History of the Jews, London: Phoenix, 1987, 1995, pp. 231,

      <A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftnref2">[2]</A> Koestler, A.The Thirteenth Tribe. London: Pan Books, 1980, pp. 125-26.
      Koestlerclaims that about 82% of the present-day Jews are in fact of Turkic
      Khazar,that is, non-semitic, descent. This conclusion is supported by B.
      Freedman (TheTruth about the Khazars, Los Angeles, 1954)

      <A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftnref3">[3]</A> O.A.Platonov, Ternovij Venets Rossii, Moscow: Rodnik, 1998, pp. 74-76,
      87(in Russian).

      <A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftnref4">[4]</A> Nechvolodov, A. L'Empereur Nicolas IIet les Juifs. Paris, 1924, p. 183
      (in French).

      <A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftnref5">[5]</A> Anothercause was the introduction into Russian service-books of several
      materials thatwere read in the cycle of synagogue feasts and readings. Also
      in the 15thcentury the five books of Moses and the Book of Daniel were
      translated fromJewish (non-Greek) texts. See Platonov, op. cit., p. 91.

      <A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftnref6">[6]</A> According toSt. Joseph of Volotsk, “they said: we are mocking these icons
      just as the Jewsmocked Christ” (Platonov, op. cit., opposite page 320).

      <A HREF="file://C:\My%20Documents\ECCLESIO\%23_ftnref7">[7]</A> Russkaia PravoslavnaiaTserkov', Publication of the Moscow Patriarchate,
      1988, pp. 25-26 (inRussian).

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