The First Sorrowful Epistle of Metropolitan Philaret
OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA
75 EAST 93rd STREET, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10028
Telephone: LEhigh 4-1601
TO THEIR HOLINESSES AND THEIR BEATITUDES
THE PRIMATES OF THE HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCHES
THE MOST REVEREND METROPOLITANS, ARCHBISHOPS, AND BISHOPS:
A SORROWFUL EPISTLE
THE HUMBLE PHILARET,
METROPOLITAN OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX
CHURCH OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA
The Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church have
exhorted us to keep the Truth of Orthodoxy as the apple of our eye. And Our Lord Jesus
Christ, teaching His Disciples to maintain every jot and title of the Divine Law intact
said, "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall
teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. v. 19).
He sent His disciples to teach the doctrines He gave them to all nations in a pure and
unadulterated form, and that duty then devolved upon each of us Bishops, as the successors
to the Apostles. We are also taught to do this by the dogmatic definition of the Seventh
Ecumenical Council, which says: "We keep unchanged all the ecclesiastical traditions
handed down to us, whether in writing or by word of mouth." And the Holy Fathers of
that Council added, in their first Canon: "The pattern for those who have received
the sacerdotal dignity is found in the testimonies and instructions laid down in the
canonical constitutions, which we receiving with a glad mind sing unto the Lord God in the
words of the God-inspired David, saying: 'I have had as great delight in the way of Thy
testimonies as in all manner of riches.' 'Thou hast commanded righteousness as Thy
testimonies for ever.' 'Grant me understanding and I shall live.' Now if the word of
prophecy bids us keep the testimonies of God forever and to live by them, it is evident
that they must abide unshaken and without change."
Every one of us solemnly promises at his
consecration to abide by our Faith and to obey the canons of the Holy Fathers, vowing
before God to keep Orthodoxy inviolate from the temptations and errors which creep into
the Church's life.
If a temptation appears in the fold of only one
Orthodox Church, the remedy for it may be found in the same fold. But if a particular evil
penetrates into all our Churches, it becomes a matter of concern for every single Bishop.
Can any one of us be silent if he sees that many of his brethren simultaneously are
walking along a path that leads them and their flock to a disastrous precipice through
their unwitting loss of Orthodoxy?
Should we say in this case that humility commands us
to keep silent? Should we regard it as indiscreet to lend advice to other descendants of
the Holy Apostles, some of whom are occupying the most ancient and distinguished sees?
But Orthodoxy believes in the equality of all
Bishops as regards grace, and distinguishes between them only as regards honor.
Should we be satisfied with the fact that every
Church is responsible for itself? But what if the statements which trouble the faithful
are made in the name of the whole Church, and therefore also involve our name, even though
we have not authorized anybody to use it?
St. Gregory the Theologian once said that there are
occasions "when even by silence truth can be betrayed." Should we not also be
betraying the truth if, on noticing a deviation from pure Orthodoxy, we merely kept
easier and safer thing to do than speaking out?
We observe, however, that nobody in a higher
position than our own is raising his voice; and this fact constrains us to speak out, lest
at the Last Judgment we should be reproached for having seen the danger of Ecumenism
threaten the Church, and yet not having warned her Bishops.
To be sure, we have already addressed His Holiness Patriarch Athenagoras and His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of North and South
America, expressing our grief and concern over their ecumenical activities, in which the
birthright of the Church has been sold for a mess of pottage in the form of the world's
applause. But the position taken by the Orthodox delegates at the
Assembly of the World Council of Churches at Uppsala makes the concern of the zealots
of Orthodoxy even more acute, and makes it necessary for us to communicate our sorrow and
confusion to all our Brother Orthodox Bishops.
We may be asked why we write about that Assembly
only now, nearly a year after the closing of its sessions. Our answer is that on this
occasion we had no observers present, and obtained information about the Assembly only
from the press, the accuracy of which is not always to be relied upon. Therefore we were
awaiting the official reports; and having studied them, we find it imperative to address
this letter to all the Orthodox Bishops whom the Lord has appointed to take care of His
Church on earth.
The report on the Uppsala Assembly shocked us
greatly, because from it we could see more clearly than ever how far the error of
Ecumenism is winning the official approval of a number of our Churches.
When the first steps were taken in the organization
of the Ecumenical Movement, many of the Orthodox Churches, following the initiative of the
Patriarch of Constantinople, began to participate in its conferences. At the time such
participation did not cause any worry even among the most zealous Orthodox. They thought
that the Church would suffer no injury if her representatives appeared among various
truth-seeking Protestants with the aim of presenting Orthodoxy in the face of their
various errors. Such a participation in inter-faith conferences could be thought of as
having a missionary character.
This position was still maintained to a certain
extent, though not always consistently, at the Evanston Assembly of the World Council of
Churches in 1954. There the Orthodox delegates openly stated that the decisions of the
Assembly diverged so sharply from our teaching on the Church that they were unable in any
way to join with the others in accepting them. Instead, they expressed the doctrine of the
Orthodox Church in separate statements.
Those statements were so plain that, in fact, they
should have issued in the logical conclusion that the Orthodox ought not to remain as
members of the World Council of Churches on the same basis as others. The Protestants
might well have asked them: "If you disagree with our basic principles, why are you
with us?" We know that in private conversations some Protestants did use to say this,
but the question was not raised in the plenary sessions. Thus the Orthodox remained as
members of an organization the disparate origin of which they had just so clearly
But what do we see now?
The Pan-Orthodox Conference in Geneva in June 1968
took a different course. It expressed "the general desire of the Orthodox Church to
be an organic member of the World Council of Churches and its decision to contribute in
all ways to its progress, theological and otherwise, to the promotion and good development
of the whole of the work of the World Council of Churches." His Holiness Patriarch
Athenagoras informed the World Council of this decision in his special letter dated June
30, 1968. There were no reservations; no mention was made of any missionary aims, either
in the one case or the other.
We must be very clear as to what sort of religious
union it is of which the Orthodox Church has been declared "an organic member,"
and what the dogmatic implications of such a decision are.
In 1950, in Toronto, certain basic statements were
accepted by the World Council of Churches which, while more cautious than the present
statements, were already not in conformity with the Orthodox doctrine of the Church. On p.
4 it was then stated that "The member Churches of the World Council consider the
relationship of other Churches to the Holy Catholic Church which the Creeds profess as a
subject for mutual consideration." This statement is already unacceptable for us
because the Church is spoken of not as actually existing in the world, but as some kind of
abstract entity mentioned in various Creeds. However, even then, on p. 3, we read:
"The member Churches recognize that the membership of the Church of Christ is more
inclusive than the membership of their own church body" (Six Ecumenical Surveys, New
York, 1954, p. 13). But since in the preceding point (No. 2) it was stated that "The
member Churches of the World Council believe on the basis of the New Testament that the
Church of Christ is one," there is either an implicit contradiction or else the
profession of a new doctrineviz., that no one can belong to the One Church without
believing in her doctrines and without having liturgical unity with her.
The separate statements made in Evanston four years
later on behalf of all the Orthodox delegates somewhat improved the situation, because
they clearly showed that Orthodox Ecclesiology differs so much in essence from Protestant
Ecclesiology that it is impossible to compose a joint statement. Now, however, the
Orthodox participants in the World Council of Churches act differently; in an effort to
unite truth with error, they have abandoned the principle expressed at Evanston. If all
the Orthodox Churches are organic members of the World Council of
Churches, then all the decisions of that Council are made in their name as well as in the
name of the Protestants.
If initially the Orthodox participated in ecumenical
meetings only to present the truth, performing, so to speak, a missionary service among
confessions foreign to Orthodoxy, then now they have combined with them, and anyone can
say that what was said at Uppsala was also said by the member Orthodox Churches in the
person of their delegates. Alas that it should be said in the name of the whole Orthodox
We regard it as our duty to protest in the
strongest possible terms against this state of affairs. We know that in this protest
we have with us all the Holy Fathers of the Church. Also with us are not only the
hierarchy, clergy, and laymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, but those
members of other Orthodox Churches who agree
with us as well.
We take the liberty of saying that it seems our
Brother Bishops have treated this matter without sufficient attention, without realizing
how far our Church is being drawn into the sphere of anti-canonical and even of
anti-dogmatical agreements with the heterodox. This fact is especially clear if one turns
to the initial statements of the representatives of the Orthodox Churches as compared with
what is taking place at present.
At the Conference in Lausanne in 1937, the
representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Metropolitan Germanos, clearly stated that
restoring unity with the Church means for Protestants that they must return to the
doctrines of the ancient Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. "And what are the
elements of the Christian doctrines," he said, "which should be regarded as
necessary and essential? According to the understanding of the Orthodox Church there is no
need now to make definitions of those necessary elements of faith, because they are
already made in the ancient Creeds and the decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
Therefore this teaching of the ancient undivided Church should be the basis of the reunion
of the Church." That was the position taken by all the Orthodox delegates at the
Lausanne and Oxford Conferences.
As for our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
Russia, her views were expressed with particular clarity upon the appointment of a
representative to the Committee for Continuation of the Conference on Faith and Order on
December 18/31, 1931. That decision was as follows:
"Maintaining the belief in the One, Holy,
Catholic, and Apostolic Church, the Synod of Bishops professes that the Church has never
been divided. The question is only who belongs to her and who does not. At the same time
the Synod warmly greets the efforts of heterodox confessions to study Christ's teaching on
the Church with the hope that by such study, especially with the participation of the
representatives of the Holy Orthodox Church, they may at last come to the conviction that
the Orthodox Church, being the pillar and the ground of the truth (I Tim. iii. 15), fully
and with no faults has maintained the doctrine given by Christ the Savior to His
disciples. With that Faith and with such hope the Synod of Bishops accepts the invitation
of the Committee for Continuation of the Conference on Faith and Order."
Here everything is clear and nothing is left unsaid.
This statement is essentially in agreement with what also used to be said at that time by
official representatives of other Orthodox Churches.
What, then, has changed? Have the Protestants
abandoned their errors? No. They have not changed, and the Church has not changed; only
the persons who are now said to represent her have changed.
If the representatives of the Orthodox Churches had
only continued firmly maintaining the basic principles of our belief in the Church, they
would not have brought the Orthodox Church into the ambiguous position which was created
for her by the decision of the Geneva Conference last year.
Since the Assembly of the World Council of Churches
in New Delhi, the Orthodox delegates no longer make separate statements, but have merged
into one mass with the Protestant confessions. Thus all the decisions of the Uppsala
Assembly are made in the name of "the Church," which is always spoken of in the
Who is speaking? Who gave these people the right to
make ecclesiological statements not merely on their own behalf, but also on behalf of the
We ask you, Most Reverend Brothers, to check the
list of the Churches participating in the Ecumenical Movement and in the World Council of
Churches. Take, for instance, at least the first lines of the list on page 444 of
Uppsala 68 Report.
There you will find the following names: Evangelical
Church of the River Plata, Methodist Church of Australia, Churches of Christ in Australia,
The Church of England of Australia, Congregational Union of Australia, Presbyterian Church
of Australia ....
Is it necessary to continue the list? Is it not
clear that beginning with the very first lines, confessions are included which differ
greatly from Orthodoxy, which deny sacraments, hierarchy, Church tradition, holy canons,
which do not venerate the Mother of God and the Saints, etc.? We should have to enumerate
nearly all of our dogmas in order to point out what in our Orthodox doctrines is not
accepted by the majority of the members of the World Council of Churchesof which,
however, the Orthodox Church is now nevertheless alleged to be an organic member.
Yet in the name of this union of the various
representatives of all possible heresies, the Uppsala Assembly constantly states:
"The Church professes," "The Church teaches," "The Church does
this and that ...."
Out of this mixture of errors, which have gone so
far astray from Tradition, the published decision on "The Holy Spirit and the
Catholicity of the Church" makes the statement: "The Holy Spirit has not only
preserved the Church in continuity with the past; He is also continuously present in the
Church, effecting her inward renewal and re-creation."
The question is: Where is the "continuity with
the past" among the Presbyterians? Where is the presence of the Holy Spirit among
those who do not recognize any mysteries? How can one speak of the catholicity of those
who do not accept the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils?
If these doctrinal decisions were preceded by words
indicating that one part of the Churches observes one doctrine, and the other a different
doctrine, and the teaching of the Orthodox Church were stated separately, that would be consistent with reality. But such is not the case,
and in the name of various confessions they say: "The Church teaches.... "
This in itself is a proclamation of the Protestant
doctrine of the Church as comprising all those who call themselves Christians, even if
they have no intercommunion. But without accepting that doctrine, it is impossible to be
an organic member of the World Council of Churches, because that doctrine is the basis of
the whole ideology on which this organization rests.
True, the resolution "On the Holy Spirit and
the Catholicity of the Church" is followed by a note in fine print which says that
since this resolution provoked such a great diversity of views, this decision is not final
but only a summary of the matters considered in the Section. However, there are not such
remarks regarding other similar resolutions. The minutes contain no evidence that the
Orthodox delegates made any statements to the effect that the Assembly might not speak in
the name of the Church in the singular; and the Assembly does so everywhere, in all its
resolutions, which never have such qualifying remarks attached.
On the contrary, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, in
his reply to the greeting of the Swedish Archbishop, said in the name of the Assembly,
"As you well know, the Church universal is called by a demanding world to give ample
evidence of its faith" (The Uppsala 69 Report, p. 103).
Of what "Church universal" did Archbishop
Iakovos speak? Of the Orthodox Church? No. He spoke here of the "Church" uniting
all confessions, of the Church of the World Council of Churches.
A tendency to speak in this fashion is especially
conspicuous in the report of the Committee on Faith and Order. In the resolution upon its
report, following statements about the success of Ecumenism, it says: "We are in
agreement with the decision of the Faith and Order Commission at its Bristol meeting to
pursue its study program of the unity of the Church in the wider context of the study of
the unity of mankind and of creation. We welcome at the same time the statement of the
Faith and Order Commission that its task remains 'to proclaim the oneness of the Church of
Jesus Christ' and to keep before the Council and the churches 'the obligation to manifest
that unity for the sake of their Lord and for the better accomplishment of his mission in
the world'" (ibid., p. 223).
The implication is clear in all these resolutions
that, notwithstanding the outward separation of the Churches, their internal unity still
exists. The aim of Ecumenism is in this world to make this inner unity also an outward one
through various manifestations of such aspirations.
In order to evaluate all this from the point of view
of the Orthodox Church, it is sufficient to imagine the reception it would find among the
Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils. Can anybody imagine the Orthodox Church of that
period declaring itself an organic member of a society uniting Eunomians or Anomoeans,
Arians, Semi-Arians, Sabellians, and Apollinarians?
Certainly not! On the contrary, Canon I of the
Second Ecumenical Council does not call for union with such groups, but anathematizes
them. Subsequent Ecumenical Councils did the same in regard to other heresies.
The organic membership of Orthodox Christians in one
body with modern heretics will not sanctify the latter, but does alienate those Orthodox
from the catholic Orthodox unity. That unity is not limited to the modern age. Catholicity
embraces all the generations of the Holy Fathers. St. Vincent of Lérins, in his immortal work, writes that "for Christians to declare
something which they did not previously accept has never been permitted, is never
permitted, and never will be permitted,but to anathematize those who proclaim
something outside of that which was accepted once and for ever, has always been a duty, is
always a duty, and always will be a duty."
Perhaps somebody will say that times have changed,
and heresies now are not so malicious and destructive as in the days of the Ecumenical
Councils. But are those Protestants who renounce the veneration of the Theotokos and the
Saints, who do not recognize the grace of the hierarchy,or the Roman Catholics, who
have invented new errors,are they nearer to the Orthodox Church than the Arians or
Let us grant that modern preachers of heresy are not
so belligerent towards the Orthodox Church as the ancient ones were. However, that is not
because their doctrines are nearer to Orthodox teaching, but because Protestantism and
Ecumenism have built up in them the conviction that there is no One and True Church on
earth, but only communities of men who are in varying degrees of error. Such a doctrine
kills any zeal in professing what they take to be the truth, and therefore modern heretics
appear to be less obdurate than the ancient ones. But such indifference to truth is in
many respects worse than the capacity to be zealous in defense of an error mistaken for
truth. Pilate, who said "What is truth?" could not be converted; but Saul, the
persecutor of Christianity, became the Apostle Paul. That is why we read in the Book of
Revelation the menacing words to the Angel of the Church of Laodicea: "I know thy
works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because
thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth" (iii.
Ecumenism makes the World Council of Churches a
society in which every member, with Laodicean indifference, recognizes himself and others
as being in error, and is concerned only about finding phrases which will express that
error in terms acceptable to all. Is there any room here as an "organic member"
for the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, which has always professed itself to be
holy and without blemish because its Head is Christ Himself (Eph. v. 27)?
The LVII (LXVI in the Athens Syntagma) Canon of
Carthage says of the Church that she is "the one spoken of as a dove (Song of Songs,
vi.9) and sole mother of Christians, in whom all the sanctifying gifts, savingly
everlasting and vital are receivedwhich, however, inflict upon those persisting in
heresy the great punishment of damnation."
We also feel it is our duty to declare that it is
impossible to recognize the Russian Church as legally and duly represented at the
Pan-Orthodox Conferences called by His Holiness Patriarch Athenagoras. Those Bishops who
participate in these Conferences in the name of the Russian Church with Metropolitan
Nikodim at their head, do not represent the authentic Russian Church. They represent only
those Bishops who by the will of an atheistic
Government bear the titles of certain Dioceses of the Church of Russia. We have
already had occasion to write about this matter to His Holiness Patriarch Athenagoras.
These persons participate in meetings abroad only in so far as such participation is
profitable to their civil authorities, the most cruel in the history of the world. Nero's
ferocity and Julian the Apostate's hatred of Christianity are pallid in comparison.
Is it not to the influence of that Government that
we must largely ascribe the political resolutions of the Uppsala Assembly, which repeat
many slogans widely observable in Communist propaganda in the West?
In the concluding speech of the Chairman, Dr. Payne,
it was said that "the Church of Jesus Christ must show actively the compassion of
Christ in a needy world." But neither he nor anybody else said a word about the
millions of Christians martyred in the U.S.S.R.; nobody spoke a word of compassion about
It is good to express compassion for the hungry in
Biefra, for those who constantly suffer from fighting in the Middle East or in Vietnam;
but does that cover all the human afflictions of the present time? Can it be that the
members of the World Council of Churches know nothing about the persecutions of Religion in the U.S.S.R.? Do they not
know what iniquity is reigning there? Do they not know that martyrs for the Faith there
are counted in the millions, that the Holy Scriptures are not published there and that
people are sentenced to banishment with hard labor for distributing them? Do they not know
that children there are prevented from lessons in the basic principles of Religion, and
even from attending religious services? Do they not know of the thousands who have been
banished for their Faith, about the children wrested from their parents to prevent them
from receiving religious upbringing?
All this is certainly well known to anybody who
reads the newspapers, but it is never mentioned in any resolution of the World Council of
Churches. The ecumenical priests and Levites are passing by in silence and without
interest, without so much as a glance in the direction of the Christians persecuted in the
U.S.S.R. They are silent because the official representatives of the Church of Russia, in
spite of all evidence to the contrary, deny the existence of these persecutions in order
to please their civil authorities.
These people are not free. Whether they wish to or
not, they are forced to speak in obedience to orders from Communist Moscow. The burden of
persecution makes them more deserving of compassion than of blame. But being moral
prisoners of the godless, they cannot be true spokesmen for the Russian Orthodox Church,
suffering, deprived of any rights, forced to be silent, driven into catacombs and prisons.
The late Patriarch Sergius and the present Patriarch
Alexis were elected in violation of the rules which were instituted by the All-Russian
Church Council of 1917 at the restoration of the Patriarchate. Both were chosen according
to the instructions of Stalin, the fiercest persecutor of the Church in history.
Can you imagine a Bishop of Rome chosen according to
the instructions of Nero? But Stalin was many times worse.
The hierarchs selected by Stalin had to promise
their obedience to an atheistic Government whose aim, according to the Communist program,
is the annihilation of Religion. The present Patriarch Alexis wrote to Stalin immediately
after the death of his predecessor that he would observe fidelity to his Government:
"Acting fully in concert with the Council for the Affairs of the Russian Orthodox
Church and also with the Holy Synod instituted by the late Patriarch, I will be secure
from mistakes and wrong actions."
Everybody knows that "mistakes and wrong
actions" in the language of the Moscow masters means any violation of the
instructions given by the Communist authorities.
We can pity an unfortunate old man, but we cannot
recognize him as the Head of the Russian Church, of which we regard ourselves an
inseparable part. Both to Patriarch Alexis and his collaborators the sanctions of the XXX
Apostolic Canon and Canon III of the Seventh Ecumenical Council can be doubly applied:
"If any bishop, making use of the secular powers, shall by their means obtain
jurisdiction over any church, he shall be deposed, and also excommunicated, together with
all who remain in communion with him.''
Bishop Nikodim of Dalmatia, in his commentary on the
XXX Apostolic Canon, says: "If the Church condemned the unlawful influence of civil
authorities on the appointment of a bishop at a time when the Rulers were Christians, how
much the more so, consequently, she had to condemn it when they were heathens." What
is there to say, therefore, when a Patriarch and Bishops are installed by the open
and militant enemies of their religion?
When one part of the Russian Episcopate, together
with the late Patriarch (at that time Metropolitan) Sergius, took the course of agreeing
with the enemies of the Church in 1927, a large (and the most respected) part of that
Episcopate, with Metropolitan Joseph of Leningrad
and the first candidate of Patriarch Tikhon for the office of locum tenens, Metropolitan Cyrill of
Kazan, did not agree to go along with him, preferring banishment and martyrdom.
Metropolitan Joseph by that time had already come to the conclusion that, in the face of a
Government which openly had as its goal the destruction of Religion by the use of any
available means, the legal existence of a Church Administration becomes practically
impossible without entailing compromises which are too great and too sinful. He therefore
started secret ordinations of Bishops and priests, in that way organizing the Catacomb Church which still exists in hiding.
The atheists seldom mention the Catacomb Church,
being afraid of giving her too much publicity. Only very rarely in the Soviet Press is the
news of some trial of her members mentioned. Information about her, however, is given in
manuals for anti-religious workers in the U.S.S.R. For instance, the basic information
about this Church, under the name of "The Truly Orthodox Church," is given in a
manual with the title of Slovar Ateista ("The
Atheist's Dictionary"), published in Moscow in 1964.
With no open churches, in secret meetings similar to
the catacomb meetings of the early Christians, these confessors of the Faith perform their
services unseen by the outer world. They are the true representatives of the Russian
Orthodox Church, whose greatness will become known to the world only after the downfall of
the Communist power.
For these reasons, although representatives of the
Moscow Patriarchate participated in the decisions of the Pan-Orthodox Conference in Geneva
last year, and particularly in regard to making the Orthodox Church an organic member of
the World Council of Churches,we look upon that decision as having been accepted
without the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church. That Church is forced to stay
silent, and we, as her free representatives, are grieved by the fact that such a decision
was accepted. We categorically protest that decision as being contrary to the very nature
itself of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
The poison of heresy is not too dangerous when it is
preached only from outside the Church. Many times more perilous is that poison which is
gradually introduced into the organism in larger and larger doses by those who, in virtue
of their position, should not be poisoners but spiritual physicians.
Can it be that the Orthodox Episcopate will remain
indifferent to that danger? Will it not be too late to protect our spiritual flock when
the wolves are devouring the sheep before their pastors' eyes, inside the very sheepfold
Do we not see the divine sword already raised (Matt.
x. 34), separating those who are true to the traditional faith of the Holy Church from
those who, in the words of His Holiness Patriarch Athenagoras in his greeting to the
Uppsala Assembly, are working to shape the "new drive in the ecumenical
movement" for the "fulfillment of the general Christian renewal" on the
paths of reformation and indifference to the truth?
It seems that we have shown clearly enough that this
apparent unity is not unity in the truth of Orthodoxy, but a unity that mixes white with
black, good with evil, and truth with error.
We have already protested against the unorthodox
ecumenical actions of His Holiness Patriarch Athenagoras and Archbishop Iakovos in letters
which were widely distributed to Bishops of the Orthodox Church in various countries. We
have received from different parts of the world expressions of agreement with us.
But now the time has come to make our protest heard
more loudly still, and then even yet more loudly, so as to stop the action of this poison
before it has become as potent as the ancient heresies of Arianism, Nestorianism, or
Eutychianism, which in their time so shook the whole body of the Church as to make it seem that heresy was apt to overcome Orthodoxy.
We direct our appeal to all the Bishops of the
Orthodox Church, imploring them to study the subject of this letter and to rise up in
defense of the purity of the Orthodox Faith. We also ask them very much to pray for the
Russian Orthodox Church, so greatly suffering from the atheists, that the Lord might
shorten the days of her trial and send her freedom and peace.
In New York,
Sunday of the Sixth Ecumenical Council,
14/27 July, 1969