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Metr.Philaret's Letter to a Nun at Lesna Convent (Part 2)

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  • Michael Nikitin
    St.Metropolitan Philaret s letter to a nun at Lesna(part2): Here are some more voices from antiquity. Saint Peter of Alexandria saw the Saviour in a torn robe
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 20, 2003
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      St.Metropolitan Philaret's letter to a nun at Lesna(part2):

      Here are some more voices from antiquity. Saint Peter of Alexandria saw the
      Saviour in a torn robe -- the Lord was clutching it in His hands. The
      hierarch made so bold as to inquire: Who has rent Thy garment O Saviour?
      There followed the mournful and indignant reply of the Saviour: Arius the
      madman - he has separated My sheep from Me which I have purchased with My
      blood...

      In the lives of the saints it is related that the righteous Gregory once had
      a revelation. He beheld the future Dread Judgment of Christ. And at that
      judgment the Lord summoned Arius to Himself and threateningly asked him: Am
      I not the God-man Christ, equal in Divinity to the Father and the Holy
      Spirit? How is it that you reduced My Divinity to the level of creation an
      have brought this assembly deceived by you (the followers of Arius) to
      eternal torment?...

      What do these terrible words tell us? That the heretic leads his followers
      to eternal torment!... We have already seen that - not according to the
      present spineless reasoning, but according to the teachings of the Holy
      Fathers - schism is just as terrible an evil as heresy, and that obviously
      the end of it will be the same. I do not dare to pronounce judgment on our
      contemporary founder of schism, Metropolitan Evlogy; but I fear for his soul
      and I fear for all those who have been deceived by him and his successors
      and have been carried away into schism.

      And I cannot understand the position taken on this issue by the late
      Vladyka John - a true minister of God and a man of God. Why didn't he "dot
      the i" from the very beginning and explain to the Evlogians the total
      falsehood of their path and position? For it is precisely because of this,
      because it was not stated at once and clearly where the truth is and where
      falsehood (for two truths there cannot be), where is white and where is
      black, where light and where darkness, which path is correct and which
      incorrect - there would not now exist this "inter-jurisdictional hodgepodge"
      and the position would be clear.

      The fact, that many from among the "Orthodox" indiscriminately attend
      whatever church, what does it tell us? Why simply that people do not hold
      the truth dear. For this very reason they don't bother giving the matter
      much thought. "The services are identical, everything is the same - what
      need is there to philosophize?" Or, as our Fr. John Storozhev in Harbin (the
      last spiritual father of the murdered Imperial family), one of the best
      pastors of the Diaspora, used to say with poignant irony: "the bells ring:
      the popes serve; the singing is good - what more do you want?" To which may
      be added the oh, so familiar: "After all, God is one!"...

      If only people loved the truth and cherished it - would they really be
      content with such indifference? No, and a thousand times no! Their soul
      would ache, and it would not rest content until it had discovered where is
      the truth, which can only be one - for two truths cannot be. How correct
      Vladyka Nektary is when he always affirms: there is no such thing as
      "different jurisdictions"; but there is only the Orthodox Church Abroad, and
      outside of her are schisms and heresies.

      Now I should like to cite a contemporary authority, one not ancient, but an
      authority before whom we all must bow. This, of course, is that great "Abba
      of all abbas", His Beatitude, Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky].

      Vladyka Anthony, when presenting the abbess; staff to Abbess Paula, said to
      her: "Be condescending to all, know how to converse with those weak in faith
      and with scoffers. Behave wisely with heretics, but never agree with them
      that they supposedly have the grace of the Holy Spirit; know that the Roman
      Catholics, the Mohammedans and all other heretics are without grace." And we
      have already seen that the Holy Fathers equate obstinate and prolonged
      schism with heresy. Consequently?...

      A quotation from a paschal encyclical of Vladyka Anthony's (1934):


      "The present age is rich not in ascetical feats of piety and confession of
      faith, but in cheating, lies, and deceits. It is noteworthy that several
      hierarchs and their flocks, for the most part Russians, have already fallen
      away from Ecumenical unity, and to the question: "What dost thou believe?",
      reply with references to self-proclaimed heads of all sorts of schisms in
      Moscow, America, and Western Europe. It is clear that they have ceased to
      believe in the unity of the Church throughout the whole world and do not
      wish to admit it, attempting to bear calmly the refusal of the true Church
      to have relations with them, and imagining that one can supposedly save ones
      sould even without communion with Her... Those who have cut themselves off
      from Her deprive themselves of the hope of salvation, as the Fathers of the
      Sixth Ecumenical Council teach concerning this, having recognized the
      renegades as being totally devoid of grace , according to the word of
      Christ: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an
      heathen man and a publican."

      "Unfortunately, some Orthodox laymen, even, alas, many priests (and
      hierarchs) have subjected themselves to this state of gracelessness,
      although still retaining the outward appearance of the church services and
      the apparent performance of the Mysteries."
      Ponder those last words of the great Abba: the apparent performance of the
      Mysteries... What horror! But these his words concur totally with my own
      conviction regarding the gracelessness and inefficacy of schismatic
      Mysteries.

      When at the Sobor I cited these words of Vladyka Anthony in support of my
      conviction, the hierarchs received them in silence - Vladyka Anthony [of
      Geneva] likewise held his peace. While Vladyka Filothei thanked me on behalf
      of the entire Sobor for such and exceptionally important explanation.

      Peace and God's blessing be with you. May the Lord and His Most-pure Mother
      preserve you and the Holy Convent in health and prosperity!


      +Metropolitan Philaret





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