Quo Vadis Constantinople Patriarchate?
Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or
else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place,
except thou repent. (Apoc. 2:4,5)
When the Patriarch of Constantinople, John the Faster, took upon himself the title,
Ecumenical, in the fourth century, he met with ardent opposition from St. Gregory the
Dialogist [the author of the PreSanctified Liturgy]. St. Gregory wrote to the Byzantine
Emperor, "All of Europe is in the hands of the barbarians. Cities have fallen,
fortresses are in ruins, the provinces have been depopulated, there are no hands left to
cultivate the land, and idol worshippers persecute and even kill the believers. And in the
midst of all this, priests [bishops], who should fall down in church courtyards in
sackcloth and ashes in prayer, instead run after empty titles" (The Monks of the
West, Count de Montalembert, p. 370). Even Pope Gregory the Dialogist began to use the
title "The servant of God's servants" in his official documents. In Church life
every infringement of the spirit of Orthodoxy, of the Orthodox perspective, will sooner or
later bring forth its sorrowful fruit, unless it is corrected in time.
Recently we have read frequent press reports which represent the Patriarch of
Constantinople as the spiritual leader of all of Orthodoxy. For example, in The Catholic
World Report, December, 1991, we read "Bartholomaios, Dimitrios Archontonis in the
world, became the Ecumenical Patriarch of 135 million Orthodox Christians. Though the
rulers [the Turkish authorities] might not recognize the Patriarch's leadership of the
whole world, the rest of the populace does recognize it. The majority of believers are
located in the former USSR and southeastern Europe."
Does this reporting simply represent a lack of understanding of Orthodox ecclesiology
on the part of the heterodox? Perhaps one can justify such reporting [by non-Orthodox]
concerning Orthodoxy as a matter of ignorance, but how does one explain the following
words of the late Patriarch Dimitrios to reporters, when he claimed that he "holds a
see of primacy" as spiritual head of the Orthodox world (Foni ton Pateron, 4,
No. 1, April-June, 1991)?
According to the teaching of the Church, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has a
primacy of honor, which passed on to her after Rome fell away from the catholic Church.
The third canon of the Second Ecumenical Council reads, "The bishop of Constantinople
must have primacy of honor after the bishop of Rome because Constantinople is the New
Rome." This "primacy of honor" had no dogmatic basis whatsoever. It was
based purely on the political significance of the given city [which has no significance
now]. In the Orthodox Church all bishops, including the Ecumenical Patriarch, are equal.
Besides these neo-papist ambitions, there are many other disturbing events associated with
the Patriarchate of Constantinople in our sorrowful 20th century.
Let us pause to reflect on the period of history beginning in 1922, when Patriarch
Meletios IV (Metaxakis), an infamous modernist and Mason, ascended to the Patriarchal
throne. In 1923 he summoned the so-called "Pan-Orthodox Congress," which
introduced the Gregorian calendar and discussed the possibility of a second marriage for
priests. Concerning these changes, Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) wrote, "From
the moment of that sorrowful Pan-Orthodox Congress of Patriarch Meletios (who gave such a
self-proclaimed title to a meeting of four to six bishops and a few priests, without the
participation of the other three Patriarchs), from the time of that un-Orthodox Congress,
an act of vandalism was wrought against Orthodoxy. Many reforms were proposed, which the
Church with terrible, binding curses had forbidden; reforms such as married bishops, a
second marriage for clergy and the abolition of fasts. It is true that this un-Orthodox
Congress did not succeed in officially promulgating all these impious violations of Church
laws, limiting itself to proposing the institution of the New Style calendar and the
celebration of all the holy days thirteen days earlier than proscribed, while leaving the
Paschalia untouched. This senseless and pointless concession to Masonry and to Papism,
which long ago had tried to institute such a change of calendar in their attempt to
totally absorb the Unia in Latinism (the main external difference between the Uniates and
Latins is the Old Style calendar of the former), violates the Apostolic ordinance of the
Sts. Peter and Paul fast, for if the New Style calendar is followed, when Pascha falls on
April 21 (O.S.) or later, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul occurs before the Sunday of All
Saints, and therefore the preceding Fast is totally eliminated!"
On June 9, 1922 Meletios uncanonically received the Finnish diocese into his
jurisdiction, and on August 28 he accepted the Estonian diocese, which formerly was a part
of the Russian Church. He also interfered in the affairs of the Serbian Patriarchate on
The essence of this interference can be derived from the following incident (quotes
from the book, The Orthodox Involvement in Carpatho-Russia by Z.G. Ashkenazy).
"According to the old Hungarian law of August 10, 1868, and confirmed in the second
paragraph of the first law of the Republic of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918, all
Orthodox Christians living in the territory of the former Hungarian Kingdom are under the
jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarchate. This fact was confirmed by an answer given to
the delegation of the Czechoslovakian Orthodox Church by the Council of Ministers of the
Republic of Czechoslovakia on August 11, 1920, no. 23608. In this letter, the Council of
Ministers agreed that the future bishop of Carpatho-Russia should be chosen from among the
Serbian clergy. This in fact transpired during a council of 63 Orthodox communities on
August 19, 1921. This council declared Bishop Dosithey (Nishsky) to be bishop of
Czechoslovakia. The Orthodox of Czechia, Moravia and Silesia also recognized the
jurisdiction of the Serbian Church. As further evidence, the Czechoslovakian bishop Gorazd
(Pavlik) was consecrated by the Serbian Patriarch Dimitrios, in September, 1921, and the
Orthodox community of Prague recognized the Serbian jurisdiction by letter on March 29,
1921. When he arrived in Prague as a delegate of the Serbian Patriarchate, Bishop Dosithey
received the local community under his canonical auspices. Representatives of the
community informed the bishop by letter on September 3, 1921 that they had chosen him to
be their bishop.
"At the same time the Prague community chose Archimandrite Sabbatius as their
priest and requested that the Serbian Church consecrate him bishop of Prague. The Serbian
Synod responded to this attempt of the Prague parish to bypass Bishop Gorazd, usurp
control of Orthodox affairs and submit the Orthodox community to their authority by
stating that it was impossible to assign a separate bishop to a single, small parish.
Without the knowledge or consent of the community, Archimandrite Sabbatius and Dr.
Chervinka set out for Constantinople at the end of 1922 to see Patriarch Meletios IV.
Meletios had been placed in his position by the British and the French, though his
election had been contested by the Eastern Patriarchs as being uncanonical."
"One can deduce the sentiments of the local Greek population towards the Patriarch
from the fact that a Greek mob assaulted him during a Church council and demanded that he
step down. After the French and British evacuated Constantinople, he was forced to do
so" (Days, No. 184, October 6, 1923).
"Patriarch Meletios was well-known as a supporter of the Russian 'Living Church'
movement, which rose up against Patriarch Tikhon; he also initiated the adoption of the
Latin calendar by the churches of Constantinople, Romania and Poland, and created a Polish
autocephalous church, which turned over the Orthodox living in Poland into the hands of
the Polish nationalists" (see the proceedings concerning the murder of the Polish
Metropolitan George, compiled by Archimandrite Smaragdus).
No doubt, Patriarch Meletios, with the knowledge of the Czechoslovakian government,
interfered in the affairs of the Czechoslovakian church, thereby violating the fifteenth
and sixteenth canons of the First Ecumenical Council and the second canon of the Second
Ecumenical Council, which forbid transfer from one jurisdiction into another and
interference in the affairs of a foreign diocese, especially since he had the consent of
neither the Serbian nor Russian churches. In February, 1923, Meletios consecrated Fr.
Sabbatius as archbishop of the newly-instituted Czechoslovakian branch of the Patriarchate
of Constantinople, which included Carpatho-Russia. Dr. Chervinka was ordained to the
priesthood. The Serbian Church protested against this intrusion into her territory at the
Council of Bishops held at Karlovtsky in 1923 and declared Meletios' actions uncanonical.
As a result of this decision, even the synod at Constantinople declared the Patriarch's
actions uncanonical and directed Bishop Sabbatius to refer to the Serbian synod in all
"Thus, three bishops appeared in the Czechoslovakian Church. Bishops Dosithey of
Carpatho-Russia and Bishop Gorazd of Moravia recognized the Serbian jurisdiction. The
bishop of Prague, Sabbatius, considered himself to be under Constantinople and claimed
rule over the entire Czechoslovakian Church, demanding obedience from the Church in
"The scandal caused by this confusion is easy to imagine. Bishop Sabbatius
insisted on his rights in Carpatho-Russia, enthusiastically recruiting sympathizers from
the Carpatho-Russian clergy and ordaining candidates indiscriminately. His followers
requested that the authorities take administrative measures against priests not agreeing
to submit to him. Bishop Dosithey placed a rebellious monk under banBishop Sabbatius
elevated him to igumen; Bishop Dosithey gathered the clergy in Husta and organized an
Ecclesiastical ConsistoryBishop Sabbatius enticed priests to Bushtina and formed an
Episcopal Council. Chaos reigned in church affairs. Malice and hatred spread among the
clergy, who organized into 'Sabbatites' and 'Dosithites.'
"A wonderful spiritual flowering which gave birth to so many martyrs for Orthodoxy
degenerated into a shameful struggle for power for a more lucrative parish and extra
income. The Uniate press was gleeful, while bitterness settled in among the Orthodox
people against their clergy, who were not able to maintain that high standard of Orthodoxy
which had been initiated by inspired simple folk."
When Patriarch Meletios ascended the Patriarchal throne of Alexandria following the
death of Patriarch Photios in 1925 (having been previously evicted from Athens), he
immediately introduced the New Style calendar there. His successor in Constantinople,
Patriarch Gregory VII (1923-24), recognized the decrees of the "Living Church"
council to depose Patriarch Tikhon. He demanded that the Russian Metropolitan Antony and
Archbishop Anastassy, who were residing in Constantinople at the time, cease their
activities against the Soviet regime and stop commemorating Patriarch Tikhon, while
advising them to recognize the Bolsheviks. Receiving no compliance from them, Patriarch
Gregory organ~zed an investigation and suspended the two bishops from serving. He asked
Patriarch Dimitrios to close down the Russian Council of Bishops in Sremsky-Karlovtsky,
but Dimitrios refused. He [Gregory] also granted autocephaly to the Polish Church.
Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) wrote the following concerning these matters:
"We know that the creation of a new metropolia or the granting of autonomy to a
diocese is permitted only with the agreement of the former metropolitan and his synod.
Patriarchs Meletios and Gregory granted the Polish and Finnish dioceses autonomy without
the consent of his Holiness, Patriarch Tikhon. The Patriarch of Constantinople absconded
with these dioceses, and attempted to justify his actions by saying that Patriarch
Tikhon's position in the former Russian territory was no longer free, so therefore he
could do as he pleased. In fact, the status of autonomy was granted as a concession to the
heterodox governments of Finland and Poland, with the former one having attempted, since
the fourteenth century, to wrench the Little Russian and White Russian areas from under
control of the Russian Orthodox Church. This would have occurred ages ago too, had not the
patriarchs in Constantinople defended the unity of the Russian Church out of a desire to
help the Church as a whole. This defense was, and is, the main stumbling block to the
gradual catholicization of Russian communities in Poland and lutheranization of the
Orthodox in Finland. These undermining attempts of both non-Orthodox governments generated
extreme dissatisfaction among their Orthodox populations, who were left completely
helpless in this situation of republican tyranny, which is more suppressive than any other
form of tyranny.
"Even more iniquitous and cruel was the relationship of the late Patriarch Gregory
and his synod towards the diocese and the person of the Archbishop of Finland. The
Ecumenical Patriarch consecrated a vicar bishop for Finland, the priest Aava, who was not
only not tonsured, but not even a rasophore. Moreover, this was done not only without the
agreement of the Archbishop of Finland, but in spite of his protest. By these actions the
late Patriarch of Constantinople violated a fundamental canon of the Churchthe sixth
canon of the First Ecumenical Council [and many others], which states, 'If anyone is
consecrated bishop without the consent of his metropolitan, the Great Council declares him
not to be a bishop.' According to the twenty-eighth canon of the Fourth Ecumenical
Council, the patriarch cannot even place a bishop in his diocese without the approval of
the local metropolitan.
"Based on precisely this same canon, the predecessors of Gregory vainly attempted
to realize his pretensions and legalize their claims to control. This uncanonical 'bishop'
Aava, once consecrated as bishop, placed a monastic klobuk on his own head, and thus
costumed, he appeared in the foreign diocese of Finland. There he instigated the Lutheran
government to persecute the canonical Archbishop of Finland, Seraphim, who was respected
by the people. The Finnish government previously had requested the Ecumenical Patriarch to
confirm the most illegal of laws, namely that the secular government of Finland would have
the right to retire the Archbishop. The government in fact followed through with the
retirement, falsely claiming that Archbishop Seraphim had not learned enough Finnish in
the allotted time. Heaven and earth were horrified at this illegal, tyrannical act of a
non-Orthodox government. Even more horrifying was that an Orthodox patriarch had consented
to such chicanery. To the scandal of the Orthodox and the evil delight of the heterodox,
the highly dubious Bishop German (the former Fr. Aava) strolled the streets of Finland in
secular clothes, clean-shaven and hair cut short, while the most worthy of bishops,
Seraphim, crudely betrayed by his false brother, languished in exile for the remainder of
his life in a tiny hut of a monastery on a stormy isle on Lake Lagoda.
"The late Patriarch Gregory VII acted in a like manner with the Church of Estonia,
wresting it from its subordination to the Russian Church, and adulterously bringing it
into submission to itself, in defiance of the aforementioned Church canons. Patriarch
Tikhon condemned [a similar] violation of Church canons in a letter to Metropolitan
Dionysios, in which he directly affirmed that the transfer of the Polish Orthodox Church
from its canonical submission to the Russian Church to another see was illegal. Patriarch
Tikhon wrote, 'The late Patriarch Gregory VII, under pressure from the Lutheran government
in Finland, agreed, even in regards to Holy Pascha [to change the calendar], disregarding
the anathemas placed on such changes by the holy Councils (the First and Antiochian, canon
1 and the seventh Apostolic canon). Celebrating at the same time as the heretics, and even
with the Jews, "is an exception to the rule" [they claim], though the holy
Church strove in every way to avoid this coincidence when it established Holy Pascha, 'in
order not to celebrate with the Jews.' Now the Finnish government persecuted both
physically and morally those faithful Orthodox monastics and laypeople who desired to obey
God more than men (Acts 5:29), ("Sorrowful Epistle," Church News, No. 11-12,
Patriarch Athenagoras also left behind a tragic legacy. In 1966 he, together with his
synod, "lifted" the excommunication from the Roman Catholics, which had been
declared by Patriarch Michael Cerularius in 1054, and later was confirmed and accepted by
the entire Orthodox East. Athenagoras also included the Pope's name in the diptychs
(commemoration) of the Church of Constantinople. He expressed many numerous un-Orthodox
thoughts. For example in one Nativity epistle he praised the movement towards one chalice
by those "who know not the difference in their dogmas and are not concerned about
them." Of course the Ecumenical Patriarchate had no right to "lift" these
anathemas, especially since the reasons for the anathemas have only deepened with time.
Including the name of the Pope in the diptychs is possible only if the Pope were to become
After Patriarch Athenagoras' death, Patriarch Dimitrios was elevated to the throne, and
in his first speech he asserted, "We will follow in the steps of the holy and great
path of our great predecessor, the ever-memorable Patriarch Athenagoras" (see Episkepsis,
Dec. 15, 1977, pp. 34; and Nos. 139, 159, 161, 214). Great turmoil was created when
Dimitrios announced that by extreme economy and unconditionally, in case of the dying,
Holy Communion could be received from a Roman Catholic priest (see Macedonia, No.
The Sacred Kinot [council] of the holy Mount Athos expressed its alarm over the above
announcement in an epistle dated December 15, 1987. The Patriarch responded with a letter
in which he condemned the Athonites for interfering in the affairs of the Ecumenical
throne and being tempted by "dark powers." On April 20, 1988 the Kinot answered
this letter of the Patriarch with a new epistle that was personally delivered to him by a
committee of Athonite fathers consisting of igumens from three monasteries. Here the
fathers expressed the perplexity of the Athonite monks over these matters. Patriarch
Dimitrios assured the commission that the Patriarchate's activities were within the limits
of Orthodoxy. Later, in a new interview published in Orthodox Typos, July 1, 1988,
un-Orthodox opinions, such as the reconfirmation of the possibility of inter-confessional
Communion in instances of imminent death, were again expressed by the Patriarch. On July
7/20, 1988 the Kinot of the Holy Mountain responded to these views by writing "No
longer can the Holy Kinot tell the Athonites and other believers that you preserve
strictness in your confession of Orthodoxy, and firmness in your faith since you openly
preach otherwise. The Holy Mountain can no longer express its devotion and respect for the
Ecumenical See. Athos firmly adheres to the sacred covenants of faith and piety."
It is clearly evident that the Patriarchate has chosen a definite course, which it is
unwilling to change. The alarm of the Athonite fathers is understandable when one
considers that according to Church canons even interfaith prayers with heretics are
forbidden, not to mention intercommunion. According to Orthodox understanding the Roman
Catholics are heretics, and their sacraments are devoid of divine grace. St. Mark of
Ephesus maintained, "The Latins are not only schismatics, but heretics" and St.
Gregory Palamas wrote, "The Latins have left the enclosure of the Church."
Let us pause for a moment at the idea of calling a "Great Council of the Orthodox
Church" and examine what the righteous Archimandrite Justin (Popovich) wrote about
this event. We quote his letter of May 7, 1977, written in the name of the Bishop's
Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Fr. Justin indicates the untimeliness of such a
council, and the artificial selection of topics which reveal the papist pretensions of the
Ecumenical Patriarchate. He writes, "The question of preparation for and calling of
an "Ecumenical Council" of the Orthodox Church is not new. This question was
proposed during the life of the unfortunate Patriarch Meletios (Metaxakis), the creator of
a schism in Orthodoxy as a result of his so-called "Pan-Orthodox Congress" held
in Constantinople in 1923.
"Not a single council in the history of the Orthodox Church, even more so, a
council that is so grace-filled and guided by the Spirit that it is named Ecumenical, has
been summoned in such a disingenuous manner, with topics for discussion at its sessions
prepared beforehand. Never have such congresses, conferences and various artificially
contrived councils been summoned in such a planned-out manner. These types of gatherings
are completely foreign to the Orthodox catholic (sobornost) tradition. They are in fact
imitations of models learned from Western organizations, foreign to the Church of Christ.
"Historical reality is clear on these matters, the sacred councils of the Holy
Fathers summoned by God always had one, or at the most two or three questions for
discussion, which were raised because of great heresies and schisms which had distorted
the Orthodox Faith, divided the Church and presented a serious danger to the salvation of
Orthodox people and all of God's creation. Therefore, the Orthodox Ecumenical Councils
always had a Christological, soteriological and ecclesiological character. That is, their
main theme their central message always focused on the God-man Jesus Christ and our
salvation in Him, our deification in Him."
Regarding the Moscow and Constantinople delegations present at the first pre-council
meeting in 1987, discussing a forthcoming new "Ecumenical Council," Fr. Justin
writes, "Who do they [the delegates] really represent, which Church and what people
of God? The hierarchy of Constantinople present at these meetings consists mainly of
titled metropolitans and bishops. These are pastors without a flock and without any
concrete responsibility before God and their living flock. Who does this hierarchy
represent, and who will it represent at a future council? Recently the Patriarchate of
Constantinople has created many new bishoprics and metropolitan seats, sees that are only
titular and indeed fictitious in nature, since the actual communities no longer exist.
This is being done, no doubt, in preparation for the upcoming 'Ecumenical Council,' where,
with a majority created by these titled delegates, enough votes will be cast to support
the neo-papist ambitions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
"All of this reflects the secret desires of well-known persons in the Patriarchate
of Constantinople, who wish to manipulate all the autocephalous Orthodox churches, and the
Orthodox Church in general into accepting their position of 'first in honor.' The first
four topics of the ten chosen for the Council clearly expose this attempt of
Constantinople to submit the entire Orthodox diaspora, which in reality would mean the
whole world, to itself. They also seek the sole right to grant autocephaly and autonomy to
all Orthodox churches in the world, both now and in the future, as well as the order of
rank according to their definition (this is in fact the real question concerning the
diptychs; it is not merely "the order of commemoration at the Liturgy," but the
rank and order of Churches at councils, etc.).
"I respect the centuries old merit earned by this Patriarchate, that is, the great
Church of Christ at Constantinople. I also bow before its cross which is no way an easy
one and which by its nature is the cross of the whole Church. According to the words of
the Apostle Paul, when one member suffers, the whole body suffers. I also recognize the
canonical order and place of primacy (of honor) of Constantinople among the local Orthodox
churches, equal in honor and rights. But it would go against the Gospel if Constantinople
were permitted, because of the difficulties which it finds itself under now, to lead the
whole Orthodox world into a chasm, which happened once before at the pseudo-Florentine
Council. If it were permitted to enact into law those dogmatic and canonical definitions
of a purely historical relevance, which were intended to give the Church the wings to soar
with, then rather they would become chains [restraining] her transfiguring presence in the
world. One must be honest, the behavior of Constantinople's representatives in the last
ten years reflects the same unhealthy uneasiness and sick spiritual condition which led
the Church in the fifteenth century to betrayal and disgrace. Is the behavior exhibited
under the Turkish yoke an example to follow for all times? In fact, the Turkish yoke is as
dangerous to Orthodoxy as the Florentine one. Today the situation is even more serious. In
those times Constantinople was a vibrant community with millions of faithful, which was
able to quickly overcome the crisis, control from the outside with a temptation to betray
the Faith and the Kingdom of Heaven for an earthly kingdom. Today Constantinople has
dioceses without people, bishops with no one to oversee, and they want to hold the fate of
the whole Church in their hands! Today there must not, and cannot be any kind of Florence.
"The centuries old struggle of Orthodoxy against Roman absolutism was a struggle
for the freedom of local churches, churches that were catholic, conciliar, full, whole.
Should we now travel the way of fallen Rome or some similar "second" or
"third" [Rome]? Is it possible that Constantinople, after centuries of
successfully resisting Roman, papal patronage and absolutism by virtue of her holy
hierarchs, clergy and flock, should now ignore the conciliar tradition of Orthodoxy and
replace it with the neo-papist or surrogate "second," "third" or some
other kind of Rome?" (Orthodox Russia, No. 22, 1977)
Recently the Patriarchate has even actively participated in dialogue with Monophysites,
who unfortunately were not brought to repentance and union with the Orthodox Church by the
dialogue, but rather the dialogue led to apostasy from Orthodoxy. We read, "The two
families [Orthodox and Monophysite] accept that the lifting of the anathemas and
condemnations will be based on the fact that the Councils and the Fathers previously
anathematized or condemned, were not heretics" (Point 10 of the Second Joint
Declaration composed at the Ecumenical Patriarchate Centre, Geneva, Switzerland,
September, 1990). Can we accept such a decision, which annuls the former decrees of
Ecumenical Councils? Reviewing all that has been said above, it is difficult not to reach
the conclusion that the Patriarchate of Constantinople is in fact taking a decidedly
Early last year, Patriarch Dimitrios wrote a letter to the Moscow Patriarch, Alexis II,
in which he called the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, a "so-called church" and
announced that he recognized only one canonical Orthodox Church in the territory of
Russia, namely the Church headed by Patriarch Alexis. What more should our Church expect,
a document declaring our schismatic status, or some other type of official condemnation?
During his enthronement festivities, the new Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew
I, announced his intentions of following the ecumenical direction set by his predecessors.
In a letter to the hieromonk, Polycarp, his beatitude, Metropolitan Antony
(Khrapovitsky) wrote, "Was not primacy in the Church held until the ninth and even
the eleventh centuries by the Roman popes? What then transpired? They, and all their
flock, were cut off from the Church, and spent the remainder of their ruinous days as
heretics. It is possible that Constantinople will suffer the same fate if it continues on
the path of Meletios and Gregory VII." According to recent reports this is now
happening. Patriarch Bartholomew I is reported as saying, "[The Orthodox Church
feels] the need for renovation...For instance, the prescription of a forty days fast
before Easter and Christmas is scarcely feasible today outside of monasteries." He
further claims, "Our aims are like John's [Pope John XXIII]: to update the Church and
promote Christian unity... By the grace of God, all Orthodox Churches now favor
ecumenism." (National Catholic Reporter, Jan. 21, 1977)
May this not happen to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which brought forth from its
bosom Sts. Cyril and Methodios, enlighteners of the Slavs, and numerous other saints.
Constantinople was the mother of the Russian Church. Let us ponder the words of the Father
of pastors and great High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who said, But he that is
greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be
humbled; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted (Matt. 23: 11,12).
The world is amiably uniting, seeking to build a new "tower of Babel," create
a "new world order" and establish "paradise" here on earth. For all
those whose love for the one, only, saving Orthodox Faith will not permit them to follow
this "union," for them a difficult test awaits. "The trial for the saints
of God will become horrible... Their small number will appear insignificant before all of
humanity..., general derision, hatred, slander, persecution, violent death will be their
lot" (Bishop Ignaty Brianchaninov). If ye were of the world, the world would love
its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you (John 15:19).
The faithful children of the Church of Christ must now prepare themselves for
difficult, psychological isolation.
From Orthodox Life. Issue # unknown, but the year was early nineties.