Letter of the Holy Community of Mt. Athos to Oecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Concerning His Compromising of the Orthodox Faith and His Episcopal Office
The following is a very important and encouraging letter from the Holy Community of Mt. Athos. It bluntly and very effectively exposes
the ecclesiological deviations of Patriarch Bartholomew, with regard to the ecumenical movement. However, it must be read with certain
reservations, which even more strikingly call every sober Orthodox Christian to see how fundamentally the ecumenical movement and its
religious relativism have compromised the Faith and blinded even monastic circles to its soul-destroying ills:
1) Where have the Fathers of the Holy Mountain been for the last two decades, as ecumenical outrage after ecumenical outrage wounded and
scarred the consciences of the Orthodox Faithful? While one can only feel relief that they have now spoken so resolutely, it is undeniable
that they are speaking, not when the water has been stirred by wrong belief, but after it has been polluted by poisonous additives. They
have come at the eleventh hour to warn us, as though of smoke, about a conflagration which many of us saw raging from the first hour.
2) The Holy Community states that it wishes to believe that the cumenical Patriarch did not write the addresses to which it refers.
We would ask: is it the provenance or the magnitude of heresy which should more greatly concern us? Obviously it is the latter. And from
that standpoint, one cannot deny that the few statements cited by the Holy Community are but a mere aperitif in the many courses that have
been offered up in the banquet of ecumenism. And one of the main servers at this banquet has been cumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,
from the very first of his service, when, as the Athonite Abbots stood passively by, he was enthroned in the presence of ecumenical
representatives from various heterodox confessions at the Phanar.
3) In their letter, the Fathers of the Holy Community write about the issue of Patriarch Bartholomew's ecumenical excesses the following:
"The matter takes on tragic proportions, however, when we see the most pious of Orthodox faithful deserting for schismatic groups and
in this way cause the holy body of the Church to bleed." This statement invites comment.
a) Since when is resistance "schism"? It is only recently that we have seen the Greek Old Calendarists (who were first served, in the
early '20s, as we all know, by Athonite Hieromonks), the Romanian Old
Calendarists, the Bulgarian Old Calendarists, and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad characterized by some Athonite voices as
"schismatics." A few decades ago, they were "True Orthodox" and "heroes." Indeed, it is only as ecumenism has grown and affected,
without their knowing it, even the mentality of the more sober Orthodox, that Athonite Abbots have stood with heterodox clergy in
the Phanar, before a Patriarch who calls the heresy of Papism a "Sister Church," and dismissed their brothers in resistance as schismatics.
b) If the "most pious" of the Orthodox are drawn into resistance, leading one to believe that the less pious are left within the
so-called "official" Church, does this not lead a prudent man to wonder just who it is who is courting schism? Are the pious actually
schismatics for separating from error, while those in error are not in schism by virtue of their
complacent deviation from the teachings of Orthodoxy? Here again, ecumenical thinking has taken an unnoticed
c) And if the Fathers of the Holy Mountain find once more that their words have fallen on the deaf ears of Constantinople, as have our own words for two decades, what course, then, will be open to them, except resistance? And will they call this schism?
At any rate, this document is an important one which should inspire those of us in the resistance, if read properly and with the
reservations which I have enumerated.
Finally, the translated text of this letter is not ours. While it seems quite adequate, in places it is awkward and imprecise.
Your Humble Servant,
+ Bishop Auxentios
Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies
+ + +
HOLY COMMUNITY OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN OF ATHOS
Karyae, 11th/24th May 1999
His Most Reverend All-Holiness
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos
Most Holy Father and Master,
To begin, we most respectfully and reverentially convey our filial regards on this, the Holy and
Joyous Resurrection of our Great God and Saviour
Jesus Christ, and likewise extend the honour which is due and proper to Your Venerable All-Holiness.
We rejoice in the Lord with resurrectional joy along with the all of the Most Holy Orthodox
Church, despite this joy being mixed with much sorrow over the unjust tribulations brought upon Orthodox
Serbia by the Western powers as well as by the suffering borne by the Kossovo refugees. We pray that our
Resurrected Lord Jesus, the God of peace and father of all supplications, grant peace to these
We proceed therefore, with all due respect to express also our disquiet over certain matters
which concern the holy and immaculate Orthodox Faith, and which consequently impact our salvation and the
salvation of all the fathers of the Holy Mountain.
Being deeply conscious of our responsibility as regards the rational sheep of our Lord who look up
to the Athonite Republic, we are deeply saddened by the following:
The first concerns Your address to the Roman Catholic Delegation on the occasion of the
cathedra feast day of Saint Andrew on November 30, 1998.
This is certainly not the first occasion during such cathedra feasts of Constantinople and Rome on
which such words have been uttered; we would like you to know that on such occasions we have always
been greatly saddened, as for example, in June of 1998 when in Rome, the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Pergamon spoke of the so-called "two lungs" with which the Universal Church of Christ breathes.
However, in Your address to the papal delegation last November, certain viewpoints were expressed
which were quite unanticipated by the body of Orthodox faithful. We were greatly grieved and
our conscience shaken.
Our disquiet grows ever more intense on account of the questions posed to us daily by our
spiritual children and in general by the pious Christians who visit us and ask if indeed the text of your address
expresses the mind-set (phronema) of our Holy Church. The matter takes on tragic proportions however, when we see the most pious of Orthodox
faithful deserting for schismatic groups and in this way cause the holy body of the Church to bleed.
You are well aware, Your All-Holiness, that there is nothing more painful for a shepherd than the
scattering of these, the sheep of Christ.
How should we answer then? How do we justify something which is not justifiable? How do we
convince ourselves and our spiritual children that the words of Your address are consistent with the
Orthodox Faith and Tradition, when obviously they cause the Tradition of the Church to be overturned
and offend the Orthodox conscience?
How can we consider the following statements consistent with Orthodox Tradition? "We are
obliged from this... to reconsider our policy, to clean
away the old yeast, to become new dough..." and elsewhere, "Our repentance for the past is
Are we obliged then, Your All-Holiness, to reconsider the Tradition of our Saints, from
Photios, Gregory Palamas and Mark of Ephesus, up until Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and
Athanasios of Paros, whose struggles against the heterodox teachings of Rome and whose unrelenting
persistence in the holy dogmas and ethos of Orthodoxy constitute our legacy from them? Can we ignore the words of
Gregory Palamas that: "Our confession (of faith) is secure in all things and is for us a crown of
pride and our hope which cannot be put to shame"? 
Is then our holy Tradition "old leaven" and must we now reconsider this mind-set (phronema) and
adopt the "new dough" of a false union with Rome, in as much as she continues to be heterodox? And is not
the same Saint Gregory's characterisation of Western heretical dogmas still timely in our day: "These
are the deep secrets of Satan, the mysteries of the Evil One"? and his words to those in the West: "We
will never accept you in communion as long as you confess the Spirit to be also from the
Furthermore, how can we rectify with our conscience the following statement from your
address: "Those of our forefathers from whom we inherited this separation were the unfortunate
victims of the serpent who is the chief of all evils; they are already in the hands of God, the
According to the Holy Fathers, the Popes of Rome and their representatives are the true cause of
the West's schism from the Universal (Katholike)
Orthodox Church. Your All-Holiness, you are aware that Saint Mark says literally: "For they have
given cause for the schism, having obviously carried out the addition... We had previously broken from
them, or rather had cut them off and separated them from the common body of the Church, as being of an
improper and impious mind-set (phronema) and for irrationally having made the addition. Therefore,
we turned away from them since they were heretics and for this reason separated from
them."  And in our century, Saint Nectarios wrote: "Thenceforth the separation of the Churches began, which came into
completion quite rightly under Photios, since the Church was in danger of going away from the One,
Catholic, and Apostolic Church to become a Roman Church, or rather a papist Church, professing no
longer the dogmas of the holy Apostles, but those of the popes." 
And these men, being the causes for the schism, are now in the hands of God, the righteous judge.
But is it possible that the holy Fathers, who rightfully cut heretical Rome
off from the body of the Church as one would amputate an incurable body
part, and stitched back together the seamless tunic of Christis it possible
that they are "unfortunate victims of the serpent, chief of all evils?" What
Orthodox Christian cannot help but grieve just by hearing those words alone?
And how then can we accept the following statement from your address: "Since
in as much as one Church recognises another Church to be a
repository of divine grace, capable of granting salvation, ... the attempt to
break believers off from the one and attach them to the other is
Have we then ceased to believe that only the Orthodox Church constitutes the
One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?
Are we returning to the unorthodox ecclesiology of the Balamand document, which
You yourself admitted to Austrian journalists, was not accepted by any Orthodox
Church save the Church of Romania, and which, as you are aware, was condemned
conciliarly by the Church of Greece and rejected by our Holy Community and by
many bishops and theologians as being unorthodox?
But even if one interprets the above statement as being against Rome's proselytism
via the Unia, its formulation denies to the Orthodox Church the right to consider
herself the only true Church.
Are we then condemning the Unia solely because by its actions it undermines
the theory of the "sister churches" and the recognition of Rome as
the complete Church of Christ which arises from this theory? Are we not condemning
the Unia because it has been the devious enemy of the Orthodox for centuries
and because it is impossible, based on Orthodox ecclesiology, for even the existence
of Uniate groups to be acceptable?
How can we accept as being consistent with Orthodox ecclesiology the statement
that "each local Church is not a competitor with other local Churches,
but of one body with them..." when it is totally impossible to consider heterodox
Rome as being one of the most holy Orthodox Local Churches and of one body with
Finally, how can we not but be deeply pained by the epilogue of the address:
"May the Lord make us worthy to see the resurrection of unity of His One Holy
Catholic and Apostolic Church" when by this statement the impression given is
that since the time of the schism with Rome, the One Holy
Catholic and Apostolic Church ceased to exist, so that we must pray for her
"resurrection?" In other words, were we not born into, baptised, and reared
in the embrace of the One Holy Catholic Church, but are anticipating her resurrection?
Is then our faith in vain? Are we dashing off into the void?
We would like to believe that You did not write this address yourself, and that
it does not express Your actual sentiments. We console ourselves with the idea
that the pen of some champion of ecumenical thinking put Your speech together
and that on account of Your justifiably many and various duties, You were unable
to appreciate its significance to the Orthodox Faith and the conscience of the
pious people of the Church.
Nonetheless, it is before such people that Your tour of Greece will take place.
The more pious of the clergy and the people are already aware of the contents
of Your address, it having been published in a front page article in the newspaper
"Ekklestiastike Aletheia" (12/15/98); it is by no means easy for them
to reconcile their Orthodox conscience with the words of Your address.
We consider it imperative, Your All-Holiness, that You make certain clarifications
which are necessary: to dispel the impression that these words, most likely
spoken without being given the proper attention, express Your mind (phronema);
to give comfort to those whose conscience has been scandalised; to give joy to the pious people, who consider their procession
of the Orthodox Faith a certain assurance of salvation and the greatest of
our Holy God's gifts. It is a Faith which the Church has preserved with many
sacrifices by the Holy Fathers against every heretical affront, so that
it might be the path to true knowledge of God . It is a Faith which they feel
they are in danger of losing on account of unwise theological trends, such as
that expressed in the above speech addressed to the papal delegation.
We well hope, Your All-Holiness, in the arrival of a breath of consolation as
soon as possible from the hills of the Mother Great Church of Christ to the
valleys of lamentation which our hearts have become, as we have said and written
above, and the danger which they present to the unity of our most holy Church.
We are also grieved and in anguish by the occurrence of pan-religious common
prayers whose syncretistic nature is obvious. From the first such common prayer
which took place in Assisi (1986), these pan-religious spectacles have never
ceased to be celebrated annually, reaching distressing proportions for the Orthodox
during the 12th pan-religious common prayer on the 30th of August 1998 in Romania.
Why must we Orthodox be dragged into such common prayers by the Roman Catholic
agents who mastermind them, when their goals are to serve papal pretensions
for, at the least, spiritual leadership in Europe?
In addition, common prayers, such as are practised, stand clearly against
the Holy Canons of the Church. To be sure, You have not personally participated
in such common prayer, but Orthodox Hierarchs and indeed, Heads of Churches
have participated. In Romania, the papal cardinal and the Patriarch together
blessed a mixed congregation of Roman Catholics, Uniates, and Orthodox.
The common prayer in Romania opens the Kerkoporta  through which the Orthodox
Church will be in danger of spiritual capture. The Most Blessed Presiding Hierarch
of the Church of Romania is too weak, it would seem, to stand up to the politics
of his nation's leaders who are making provisions to open towards the West;
in this context an official visit of the Pope to an Orthodox nation recently
took place for the first time in history.
Are they suffering amnesia when it comes to the crimes committed by the Uniates
against the Orthodox for centuries? Are we now to accept de facto the existence
and activities of Uniate groups?
Besides, since there seems to be no chance that heterodox Christians will
abandon their heretical dogmas and unbiblical teachings, what purpose do common
prayers serve, except to blunt Orthodox sensitivity and to create a syncretistic
Finally, how can we justify common prayer with heterodox? Do the Orthodox
representatives who partake in these common prayers recognise that the rest
of the heterodox and those of other religions properly give praise to and worship
God? Is not such a position antithetical to the holy Gospel and thus, blasphemy
against the Holy Spirit?
We would reverently recommend to Your attention the prohibition of common prayer
with heterodox and to be sure, with non-Christian religions by means of a pan-orthodox
decision, in as much as this common prayer stands against the commands of the
Old and New Testament as well as the Holy Canons, as they prepare the way for
the pan-religion of the so-called "New Age" in denial of the uniqueness
of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The publication of the periodical "God & Religion," whose contents
serve pan-religious syncretism, has caused us great sorrow. Despite assurances
from the periodical's editors that its goals are not syncretism, viewpoints
are nevertheless promoted which overlook the uniqueness of man's salvation in
Christ and in the Orthodox Church under the guise of a religious approach to
current topics. If that were not enough, the periodical promotes depictions
which are insulting and abusive to the All-holy person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When considered from this perspective, support for such a periodical as expressed
in commendatory letters written by certain ecclesiastical figures, creates the
very great danger for Orthodox people to be misled into believing that this
is a periodical which is of an Orthodox mind-set (phronema).
We were especially grieved by Your granting a blessing for its publication,
as well as by the publication of a special interview, which was used as a strong
indication that You agree with the editorial policies of the periodical.
We want You to know, Your All-holiness, that we foster the piety towards Your
most reverent person and the institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate which
is set down by the tradition of the Orthodox Church and the history of our martyred
For this reason our grief becomes even more excessive when we see, next to
Your photograph, advertisements in this periodical with pictures of semi-naked
women and other scenes which are incongruous with the holiness of Your ministry
It is our opinion that the editors of this periodical while feigning objectivity,
aim to belittle the Orthodox Faith by placing it alongside other, false religions,
as it appears in associated articles. Messages such as, for example: "Religion:
sacrifice at the altar of the gods"with the juxtaposition of various
religious symbols beside the Christian Cross; "God is everywhere"meaning, in all religions; "I don't think, I BELIEVE"obviously
in the advertised books on Islam, Judaism, Buddhismconfirm the truth of
In addition, the "objective" presentation of serious moral and social
problems lessens the authoritative position of genuine Orthodox Christian ethical
teaching. For example, the phrase which they propose: "the setting of standards
would be a rational act of philanthropy"meaning 'euthanasia'is
tantamount, at the very least, to a subconscious message in favour of euthanasia.
In our opinion, even some of those who claim to profess an Orthodox perspective
fail to express fully true Orthodox positions.
For this undermining of the holy Orthodox Faith, we not only grieve, but are
also filled with righteous anger.
Your All-Holiness, it is with pain that we have composed these lines. We see
that a pervasive spirit of neglectfulness predominates in the world, whose fruits
are the above mentioned disturbing phenomena.
The sensitivity of the Orthodox with regards to the true Faith becomes blunted
day by day, following the same path as the decline of the ethics of the Gospel
and the increase in human self-love and arrogance.
What will be the outcome?
We, the Orthodox people, are in need of a spiritual awakening in view of the
present adverse conditions which confront us, so that we might understand "what
is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." 
The terrible incursion of modern day barbarians against our brothers in the
faith, the Serbian people, is perhaps not unrelated to these things. A Fifth
Crusade is unfolding before our very eyes, the goal of which is a new conquest
of the Orthodox peoples. Perhaps it is a sign for us to awaken and understand
that the Lord asks us to keep ourselves pure from the outrage which is syncretism?
Do we have anything more certain than the word of the Apostle: "for what
partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with
darkness?... Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the
Lord" , so that the most holy Orthodox Faith can stand without innovations
as a witness to them and to the nations and as a salvific call to everyone?
We filially put forward these our anxieties, believing that You will not ignore
the sound of our pleas, but will bend a sympathetic ear to them and will grant
consolation to our hearts and to the whole Church, which in the imagery of the
Holy Book of Revelation is aptly depicted as a woman flying into the wilderness,
pursued by the Dragon who seeks to drown her and make war on the rest of her
offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.
With these things in mind, we kiss Your Most Divine All-Holiness' holy Right
Hand and ask for Your Patriarchal and Fatherly blessings, remaining Yours with
deepest respect and all due reverence.
All the Representatives to the common Synaxis and Superiors of the twenty
Holy Monasteries of the Holy Mountain of Athos.