An open appeal to the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate
In the previous issue of our church bulletin we printed a timely article by monk Vsevolod (Filipyev) on the Moscow summit of religious leaders. Now we are presenting an article reflecting the view of the majority of religious people in Russia on this issue. Of special value is the fact that the author of the article is a clergyman of the Moscow Patriarchate.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit! It was my Christian conscience which prompted me to write this appeal to you, hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. I was forced by a heartfelt pain for my native Church, which does not allow me to keep silent.
The decisive reason for composing this appeal was the scandalous lack of any negative reaction on the part of the MP hierarchy to the so-called World Summit of Religious Leaders, which took place in Moscow on 3-5 July 2006. In the months that passed since that time (almost half-a-year), as far as we know not a single bishop came out with a public rejection of the blasphemous “Declaration” of the summit or in any way openly denounced this abomination of iniquity.
Before our eyes and before the eyes of the entire Orthodox world there gathered in the very heart of Moscow this universal witches’ Sabbath, for there is no other way to call it. “Our” apostate hierarchs, who make up the modern “Sanhedrin,” together with heretics, the godless, and villains of all kinds publicly trampled upon the Holy Orthodox Faith. Thus, in essence, in the final summit “Declaration” the religious leaders of the MP acknowledge that they have the same “god” as the Jews, the Catholics, the Moslems, and the pagans. And this actually means an open and conscious renunciation of Christ, and support for the world policy of integrating peoples and religions for the coming Antichrist.
Some of the hierarchs participated in this disgrace, others kept silent “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19), while still others remained totally indifferent to whatever was happening, as long as no one bothered them.
According to the Scriptures and the Holy Fathers, Christians are called upon to denounce evil in this world – to denounce and not to condone evil or participate in it. For, as the holy apostle Paul said, “what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God…” (2 Cor. 6:14-16). And Apostle John says: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed. For he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John:10-11).
St. Ephraim the Syrian teaches: “Non-communion with heretics is the beauty of the Church and an expression of her vitality, i.e. a sign that the Church has not become benumbed, but is spiritually alive. However, if the Church does not keep God’s commandment about non-communion, this means that the Church has become spiritually benumbed.” Yes, a terrible time is now being experienced by our homeland, our God-bearing people. It appears as though all the hosts of hell are up in arms against Holy Russia, and there is no one to defend it. There is no leader in Holy Russia, there is no Father-Tsar – the Lord has taken him away for our sins. The heart is bleeding… Why are you keeping silent, hierarchs? Do you not see how our Church is being torn apart by rapacious wolves, thieves, and brigands? And there is no one to stop the “cunning wolves” in sheep’s clothing, who have penetrated Christ’s flock. Is there not a single zealous hierarch left in Russia?!
I humbly appeal to those loyal hierarchs, who still have a conscience and the fear of God. You have been granted apostolic power from our Lord Jesus Christ. You have been granted the word filled with the grace of spiritual power. The flock of Christ has been entrusted to you, and for each lost sheep you will be required to answer at the Last Judgment. Now is a unique time – a time for the trial of loyalty. Now is definitely not the time to keep silent! St. Maxim the Confessor said: “To keep silent about truth is the same as to reject it.” How topical are these words in our times! Especially in recent times, taking advantage of the fearful silence of church pastors, all manner of filth is penetrating into our Church. This year the world “counsel of the ungodly” did not meet with your denunciation. What will happen next? For example, for November 2007 the MP Synod has scheduled a theological conference on the subject of “The Orthodox teaching on church sacraments,” which also cannot but alert the people of God. Even more so since Church history attests to the fact that, as a rule, the issue of the sacraments crops up during periods of Church crises.
If the summary documents of this “theological conference,” just like the documents of the “world religious summit,” should contradict the teaching of the Orthodox Church (for example, the grace of all Catholic sacraments were to be acknowledged) – will you again traitorously keep silent? But do not forget what is said in the Apocalypse of John the Theologian: “But the fearful… and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone”(Rev. 21:8).
I am not calling upon anyone to run into the catacombs or to go away into other jurisdictions; let the heretics, the apostates, and the traitors depart. This is our Church, and we have no right to abandon our suffering Mother. I am not calling for a church schism or for ceasing to commemorate the patriarch at the Divine liturgy. But I am calling upon you to serve the Holy Church through preaching, to serve it with prayer and holy combat against the forces of evil. I am calling upon you to denounce the betrayal of faith, to let the people know what is happening now, without any fear or craftiness. And afterwards the Lord will find the means to cleanse His Church of heretics and apostates in vestments (and often with insignia under the vestments).
Raise your voices, hierarchs of God, as St. Gennadiy of Novgorod and the venerable Joseph of Volotsk once raised their voices against the heresy of the Hebraites. Raise your voices, as the holy Patriarch Tikhon raised his in the terrible years of the revolution. The word of truth, uttered by these righteous ones of God, became the major weapon of victory, primarily a spiritual one.
And even today your Word, filled with apostolic grace, could perform a miracle. As once the apostles with their word resurrected people from the dead, so even now your Word and the power of your prayer could resurrect the soul of the Russian people.
The flock of Christ thirsts for the “living water” – the living Word, which will disperse with its light the darkness of the most sophisticated lie, which will force all slyness to dissipate. Such a Word will become our most effective weapon in the struggle both against open godlessness and against the internal apostate spirit of lukewarmness within the Church. Yet if you, our hierarchs, will not utter this life-giving Word of Truth, the Lord will let this Word be uttered by the common Russian church people – the laymen and plain clergy – those valiant, God-loving, and brotherly keepers of piety, “in whose lips there is no guile.” And to whom the Lord said in the Apocalypse: “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name… And as thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast…” (Rev. 3:8-11).
But look, ye hierarchs, in case of your rejection of this mission, are you not those very same lukewarm false Christians to whom applies the following thunderous denunciation by God: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot! But, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest: ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing’; and knowest not thou that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked…Be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:15-19).
To demand from you a zealous defense of the purity of Orthodoxy is the duty of your flock, otherwise the flock will bear the same responsibility for negligence in defending the holy faith as do the clergymen. Before your eyes the Church canons, apostolic rules, and the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils are being openly flouted, while you look upon all this with indifference. The people of God are being led like mute sheep to sacrifice, while you keep silent. The “Russian” government has declared the courageous Orthodox fighters against the globalism of Antichrist and the yoke of the world forces that is oppressing Russia to be “extremists,” and subjects them to persecution and even repression, fabricating criminal cases on “the incitement of international and inter-religious differences,” which you obsequiously support, disowning your brothers in Christ and denouncing them as rebels and schismatics.
This is not how our holy forefathers acted. They stood up for their holy Orthodox faith, their beloved homeland, and their people in word and deed, and even, when necessary, they did not regret their very lives.
The Lord said: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). Amen.
Hieromonk Theodosius, Caucasian desert-dweller
16 November 2006