Friday, November 30, 2012

Letter from Metropolitan Ephraim

October 25 /November 12, 2012

St. Symeon the New Theologian

My beloved Orthodox Christians,

Education is the key to success if one is seeking a profitable life.  The same is true also in the spiritual life.  How can one lead a profitable life if one has not availed himself of the necessary information; if one has not read, or heard, or learned what all the relevant sources have to teach him?

Yet, many of us can testify that we have observed people making important decisions based on faulty information, disinformation, outright misinformation, or even hearsay and rumors.

For example, in the recent tempest that troubled our Church, individuals were heard making dogmatic statements with the tone and authority of an Ecumenical Council, even though their knowledge of the subject matter was virtually non-existent.  Teachings that have been condemned and anathematized by ancient Church Councils were paraded about as authentic Orthodox Christian doctrines.

Letter from the Holy Synod

Holy Martyr Callistratus September 27 /October 10, 2012

Our beloved clergy and faithful,

St. Photios the Great writes the following concerning the divisions in the Church in his times:

“Let God consign previous events to oblivion. As for us, let us find strength in forgiveness and not call wrongs to mind. It will be best to remain silent about these affairs, or at least to speak about them only briefly and with restraint. Since we are sinful and insignificant people, it will be best to stay quiet about the enmity we caused; only in the case of great need should we speak about it at all”
It is with these words in mind that over two years ago, our Synod initiated the first steps in order to start a dialogue with an Old-Calendar synod in Greece under Chrysostomos Kiousis. Our good will and desire to forget the old animosity and to work together for the reconciliation and unity of the Church was strengthened by the fact that Archbishop Auxentius of blessed memory had been partially exonerated by that synod and also, because the reports that we had heard concerning the new generation of their bishops indicated that they were of more reasonable mindset, as opposed to their predecessors who had participated in the infamous schism of 1985.

Divergent Teachings

Holy Martyr Callistratus
27 September/10 October, 2012

We, the hierarchs of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America, provide this resume of the patristic teachings concerning the Name of God, and do hereby declare that these traditional teachings on this subject are held by us unconditionally and without reservation.

All should understand that, by these pronouncements, we hierarchs are not Name-worshippers as defined in this statement, and that we believe, confess and espouse the Orthodox Christian belief, also defined in this statement.
Concerning the Constantinopolitan patriarchs’ resolutions of 1912 and 1913, and also, the decision of the so-called Russian synod of 1913, these pronouncements against the Name-worshippers are not reasoned theologically according to the traditional teachings of the Orthodox Church. Their basic reasoning rejects the patristic teaching that the Name of God is Holy by nature; further they teach that It is not an energy or operation, nor the grace of God. Those who believe this fall under their own condemnation because, like the Name-worshippers they condemn, they believe that God’s revealed Name is separate from Him. Further, they perpetually speak of God’s eternal Name as if it were some created object, not revealed from on high, as our Fathers teach.

It is for this reason that we hierarchs of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America are not Name-worshippers. The reasons for the hierarchs’ refusal to accept the various resolutions and decisions concerning Name-worshippers should also be clear.

Our position is blatantly Orthodox, consistent with the traditional teachings of the Holy Fathers of our Church; this we believe, this we proclaim, this we confess and this we teach.

“We follow in the footsteps of the Holy Fathers.”
(Fourth Ecumenical Council)