ENGLISH VERSION: Address of the Confessors of the Name of God [to the Court of the Holy Council of the Russian Orthodox Church]. August 1, 1918
We ask our judges to make the effort and read with attention the texts collected by us, which we bring as a proof of our absolute oneness in thought with the Church, and thereby be convinced what "a cloud of witnesses" indisputably support the absolute Orthodoxy of the divine veneration and of faith in the power of the Name of the Lord. In a leaflet "Name-fighting Propaganda" we bring forward both understandings of the Name of the Lord: ours and of our opponents. There we also include 72 main texts in support of our conviction. But even if we did not have this "cloud" of unquestionable proofs from the Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers about the genuineness and the Orthodoxy of our understanding, only the words God uttered in the Old Testament: "I live, and My Name is living" (Num. 14:21), and the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "In My Name shall they cast out devils" (Marc, 16:17) would have been sufficient for the Church to recognize the necessity of divine veneration of the Name of the Lord as His Living Word, and not to consider it as a mere human word and to venerate it as a Divine Power, and therefore as Energy and Divinity, and not to consider it a created matter. When Pharaoh had pushed the Israel at to the shores of the Red Sea and the unarmed people were facing inevitable destruction, then Moses prayed fervently to God, so that He should save the people for the sake of nothing other than His Own Name, because the worshippers of the hand-wrought gods, knew that Israel did not possess any hand-wrought sacred things, and their only sacred thing was the Name of the Lord (not wrought by hands), given to them by God Himself, would not mock this sacred thing, unless the people that possessed it were to be destroyed by them. As an answer to this fervent prayer of Moses God said: "I live, and My Name is living" and for the sake of his Name he drowned Pharaoh and saved Israel. So, as you can see, God himself absolutely indisputably testified that His Name "is living", and consequently it cannot in any way be numbered among the created verbal symbols, but must be recognized as Living and Eternal "Word" (John 3:34, 12:46-50) of His Revelation and therefore - His Energy.
Also, in the New Testament: if the Lord says that by His "Name" will the demons be cast out, than what kind of an Orthodox can dare to contradict the direct meaning of these words, which do not contain any kind of parable nor do they allow any other interpretation, and to claim in defiance of our Lord that it is not by the Name that the demons are cast out but by something else.
If according to the testimony of God Himself, His Name is "living" and it is His Power, then it inevitably follows that it is His Energy (as understood according to its inner, mystical aspect and not as mere letters and sounds or some abstract idea). But if it is His Energy, then the Church, in the Councils of Constantinople in the 14th century recognized the Divinity of all Divine energies and has anathematized Varlaam and all those at one mind with him, who did not accept this.
At the same time, God Himself revealed to Moses the greatest importance that His name has for His Church. Moses called it "zealous", "wonderful", "eternal", "that which ought to be feared" "laid over the people" for their blessing, that with which the Holy Tabernacle was made holy, "by the very calling of the Name of God upon it", that which "is living" in the temple (see "The Orthodox Church and veneration of the Name of God", p. 31-36). And therefore all the subsequent generations of the people of God, unwaveringly continued to pay divine veneration to the Name of the Lord and always prayed, just like Moses did, for their salvation for the sake of nothing other, but His Holy Name, which was revealed to them, by which they were named and which they confessed. Divine veneration of the Name of the Lord by Israel is most vividly illustrated in the Psalter: "Holy and terrible is His Name" (Ps. 110:8), "Praise ye the Name of the Lord" (Ps. 112:1) "Blessed be the Name of the Lord from henceforth and for evermore" (Ps. 112:2) "before the sun doth His Name continue" (Ps. 71:17) "O God in Thy Name save me" (Ps. 53:1) "chant unto His Name" (Ps. 67:4) and etc. (see also "The Orthodox Church and veneration of the Name of God" p. 40). The tradition in the Old Testament Church to pray for salvation for the sake of the Name of the Lord is most clearly testified by the prayer of Maccabees "And withal besought the Lord to deliver them…for His holy and glorious name’s sake, by which they were called" (2 Mac. 8,15), (see also "The Orthodox Church and veneration of the Name of God", p 42).
The Song of Three Children in Babylon confirms with exceptional irrefutability that the Old Testament Church together with God also blessed His Name. This Song starts with a prayer before they were cast into the furnace: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of our Fathers, and praised and glorified is Thy Name unto the ages." Then they prayed thus: "Rescue us according to Thy wondrous works and give glory to Thy Name, O Lord." And when they were delivered from the fire and were filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, then with more exultation did they sing unto the Lord and His Name: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers, and to be praised and exalted above all for ever. And blessed is Thy glorious and holy Name, and to be praised and exalted above all for ever." So it is in the New Testament Church, where to this day we unwaveringly continue to pray that God may save us for the sake of nothing other than His Name, as its is said in the prayer: "All-Holy Trinity have mercy on us…for Thy Name’s sake;" and in another prayer: "Lord have mercy on us for in Thee we have hoped; for Thou art our God, and we are Thy people (that is - we have been made Thine own by being called by Thy Name) and we call upon Thy Name." To this day we hope to be granted that what we ask "for blessed is Thy Name", "for Holy and Glorified is Thine All-Honourable and Majestical Name". And let us remember exclamations of the Liturgy: "Blessed be the Name of the Lord, from henceforth and forevermore;"And grant us with one mouth and one heart to glorify and hymn Thine All-Honourable and Majestical Name." By calling on us the Name of the Holy Trinity and of the Name of Jesus Christ in the Mystery of Baptism we have become God’s own, have been called His sons, and having believed in His Name we have received the Holy Spirit. And of the immense significance that the calling of the Name of God has in this Mystery is testified by the following words: "Thou art justified, thou art illumined, thou art sanctified, thou art washed, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God" and with this the activity of the Name of Jesus Christ in the Mysteries is proven irrefutably.
The Name of God is given to us as means by which we can have real contact with God Himself, as a beam of His Divine Light for the illumination of our soul, from the very beginning of the existence of the Church, from the days of Enos: "then began men to call upon the Name of the Lord" (Gen. 4:26). And for this reason, the Lord Jesus Christ put as the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer – "Hallowed be Thy Name", He commanded us to Baptize "in the Name", to ask for everything "in the Name". All the aforementioned does not permit the limiting of the importance of the Name in our piety, by associating it with a mere verbal symbol, upon which the mystery of our relationship with God cannot in any way depend. Rather it obliges us to see in the Name of the Lord a most indispensable and real divine link, which unites us with God – a real and divine beam of His light of revelation, in which we can contemplate, to the degree of the purity of the eye of our heart, the Triple-Illuminating Sun of Godhead.
Examination of the Theological aspect of the debate can also demand the examination of the much-argued depths of philosophy, psychology, ontology, gnosiology etc. However, at the same time we must not forget the words of that great exegist of the mysteries of the Church, St. John Chrysostom, who says that the Name of God "…too requireth faith, neither can one grasp aught of these things by reasoning" (Homily on the Epistle to the Romans, Homily 1).
Monastics - Confessors of the Name of the Lord