ENGLISH VERSION: Should we conclude that our Synod takes part in the heresy of the infamous decree of 1913? Open Letter of the writer from Berlin to Metropolitan Kallinikos and the Synod of GOC
Your Eminence, Metropolitan kyr kyr Kallinikos,
Your Eminences, venerable members of the Hol Synod of the True Orthodox Church of Greece.
You have accepted bishop Demetrius from the American synod of HOCNA, and have written on our official website, under the name of our Synod, that you find his confession of faith to be Orthodox. At the same time, bishop Demetrius is defending his split from HOCNA through his rejection of name-glorifying, which he considers to be a heresy - but does not present even a single theological argument, or a patristic foundation which would defend his credo. He merely quotes a decree of the Russian Synod of 1913 and references the position of the Patriarch of Constantinople Joachim III, and theologians of Halki school. But just how serious their authority is for the True Orthodox faithful?
It is well-known that the chief author of the Decree of the 1913 Russian Synod concerning the name-glorifying was archbishop and future metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), whose unorthodox teachings in christology (crypto-nestorianism), soteriology (pelagianism) and ecclesiology (ecumenism) attracted some questions even at the border of XIX-XX centuries, and whose unscrupulousness in church and political matters was made manifest clearly in 20-s, when he first joined the heretical renovationist Supreme Church Authority, and later, with the support of the new communist rulers of Russia, usurped the control of the church. Not surprisingly, he later became the first patriarch of Stalin’s Russian false church.
So what kind of correct and orthodox confession, in the spirit of the Tradition of the Holy Church, can we possibly expect from such a “theologian”?
Esteemed masters, should I remind you about the numerous times when people, well-versed in patristic teaching, would point out multiple heresies contained in that same Decree? For example, the Decree not only warps the very essence of the Church teaching concerning the uncreated energies, as formulated by St Gregory Palamas, but, with utmost ignorance, proclaims that St Gregory “never called energies ‘God’, but teaches to call them ‘Divinity’ (not Theos, but Theotis)”. Thus, the Decree confesses the heresy of barlaamites, that God’s energy is not God Himself; the same heresy which was anathematized by the Holy Council of Constantinople in the year 1351, and is under the anathema against barlaamites from the Synodikon on the Week of the Orthodoxy.
As if that wasn’t enough - the same Decree contains, barely obscured, a heresy of iconoclasm. The Decree rejects the confession of name-glorifiers, that icons are sanctified with the inscription of the name of God on them, making an unfounded claim that through this confession “the errors of the new dogma are exposed”. Thus the Decree directly contradicts the decision of the fathers of the Seventh Ecumenucal Council, who said that an icon is sanctified through the inscription of the name of God.
Not much more weight - for the True-Orthodox Christian - is there to be found in opinions of such “theological experts” as Patriarch Joachim, the author of the first ecumenistic document of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (Decree of 1903), and other ecumenistically-minded theologians of Halki school, spiritual precursors of Meletios Metaxakis, those who later became ideologues of the fall of all the official Patriarchates away from the Holy Orthodoxy.
Therefore - if our Synod considers bishop Demetrius to be perfectly orthodox, and he himself refers to such questionable authorities in order to defend his actions - does it mean, also, that our bishops agree with them, and share in their errors? Should we conclude that our Synod takes part in the heresy of the infamous decree of 1913?
Finally, I want to humbly remind you that Russian Synod of 1917-1918 was going to - but, alas, due to the known political developments, failed to - examine in detail the question of the name of God; yet they did decide to postpone the decision on name-glorifying for later and more favorable times, which implies acknowledging the Decree of 1913 to be void.
All that was said here shows the errors of the position of bishop Demetrius, and the false premise of his statement that “[all] have condemned this teaching as a heresy 100 years ago. From then until today, the entire Orthodox Church accepted these decisions”. A few ecumenists in high offices, perhaps - but that’s hardly the “entire Orthodox Church”. The fullness of the teaching of the Orthodox Church lies in the agreement with the Holy Fathers, and it is with Holy Fathers we need to seek out the answer to the question of the name of God. But insofar as this search was not yet conducted by a council, should we not follow the example of the Russian synod of 1917, rather than hastily accept an opinion, which could very well turn out to be heretical, and would separate you and your flock from the Holy Church?
Kissing the right hand of Your Eminence,
novice of Your Eminence,
parish of St Symeon the Stylite in Berlin,
19/1 of February,
+ St Macarios the Great,
+ St Marc, Archbishop of Ephesus