this speech is not against people who are members of other churches. We have to love all the people but we can not support heresy and we have to speak about THE truth.
THE PHILO-UNIONIST MOVEMENT
Lately there is observed a movement for the union of all the “churches” and especially of the Eastern Church with roman catholicism. Now various are the motivations of those seeking this union. And others of ours, cold and indifferent for whatever has reference to our faith, and from a politically perspective only seeing and judging things, shout to for the “churches” to be united, so that their political aims might be better served. And others, though they are not religiously cold and indifferent, like the former, but believe surely in Orthodoxy, yet, nevertheless, they do not delve deep into things and thus as light rocks are dragged away by the global current, the current through which every sacrifice of co-existence and being at peace with the world for the securing the undisturbed enjoyment of material goods, these people co-echo, superficially, the motto of the former. And finally, certain theologians and ecclesiastical circles of Orthodoxy, charmed by the visits to the papal courts and the smiles that the great diplomats of Vatican lavishly spread about, they believe that a big change, of cosmogonic character, is being performed in the bosoms of papism, a change, which must make us orthodox to see today in the Vatican sincere dispositions. “Let us hasten then”, they also shout, “to the Vatican, for conciliation and union.”
Thus the issue of relations of orthodox with the westerners, on the occasion indeed of the convening of Vatican Council II, has ended up again becoming timely, and the various commentaries are being published, not only in the religious press, but also in the political press. And a great deal of people has begun to be touched and moved and to be concerned regarding the issue of union.
We too, found to be in the midst of the philo-unionist movement of today, are not able to remain indifferent. It is necessary for us to research the issue. And because the Vatican is not an issue of yesterday [only], and history is a teacher, and from a certain perspective also a prophet of the future, we shall not close, as many recommend in this case, our hearing, so as not to hear the voice of history, but having previously opened history and seeing the past of papism, and finally we shall set forth, what things according to our humble opinion must be the stance of the orthodox before, in the face of, the philo-unionist movement of our days.
We have said that the Vatican is not an issue of yesterday. It is an old tree. Now what is its root? What is its beginning? What is the fundamental view (doxa), upon which the colossal edifice of roman catholicism is supported? It is the notorious primacy. It is the theory concerning the pope, which roman catholic theologians want to support primarily upon the passage Matt. 16:18: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my church, and the gates of hades shall not overpower her”. This passage interpreted by followers of papism say, that Peter is the rock upon which the Church is supported, that to Peter were given certain privileges, the two keys, symbols of religious and worldly authority over all, that Peter established the church of Rome and for 25 continual years he functioned as her first bishop, and that, therefore, each bishop of Rome, as a successor of Peter, by divine right inherits all the rights of the apostle Peter over the Church, he becomes the locum tenens, the lieutenant of Christ upon the earth, the visible head of the militant Church, the leader of the whole Christian world, before whom, as infallible interpreter of the volitions of the Lord, every believer must bow his head and say, as in the Lord’s prayer: Holy Father, “thy will be done”! (Matt. 6:10).
But this interpretation of the said passage of Matthew, which even the small children of roman catholics suck on as a caramel, is mistaken. Not one and two, but in all 40 great fathers and teachers of the Church interpret this passage otherwise, upon which the papists want to support the primacy of the pope. The correct interpretation of the fathers and teachers of the Church is, that the rock upon which Christ said he would build his Church, is not the faith in Peter, but the rock is the faith in Christ, the confession that Jesus Christ is not simply a man, but is the son of the living God, just as Peter confessed by name, and as the other apostles [also confessed by their silence]. Of the 40 fathers and teachers of the Church, among which, according to S. Delattr, are also counted ten popes, we cite related passages of homilies of sacred Augustine, this great father of the Church, whom western Christianity honoring par excellencecounts him among her four great teachers. Behold how sacred Augustine interprets the said passage:
“You are then Peter, and upon this rock, which you have confessed, upon this rock, which you have come to know, saying “you are the Christ, the son of the living God”, I shall build my Church, that is upon me, the son of the living God, I shall build my Church. Upon me I shall build you, and not me upon you.”
Now in another homily of his holy Augustine says:
“The Corinthians being divided and quarreling, who from among the apostles was superior to the others, in order to support their faith upon this matter, would say: “I am of Paul, and I am of Apollo, and I am of Cephas”, that is of Peter. But the others, not wanting to build upon Peter, but upon the rock, would say: “I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 1:12), which means, that, these neither the name of Paul, nor the name of Peter, but the name of Jesus Christ they wanted as the basis and foundation, so that even Peter might be supported upon the rock and not the rock (that is the faith in Christ) upon Peter”.
Finally in his famous book Concerning the City of God he writes the following.
“We, who are Christians, even with our words and with our works, do not believe in Peter, but in Him in whom even he, the same Peter had come to believe…He is Christ, Peter’s teacher, who catechized him in the way, which leads to eternal life: he also is our unique teacher”.
And so long as this is the true interpretation of the passage of Matthew, the whole theoretical edifice of the primacy comes crashing down into ruins. Now it is for this reason that westerners persistently and despairingly set themselves the task of attempting to support the theory concerning the primacy also upon other passages of the New Testament, but also upon other texts, of which, however, the critique has proved to be false, as the Pseudo-Isidorian credentials and others. The ink that the theologians have used up is a river wearing away their intellect so that they may support the teaching of the primacy. What vain toil!
But perhaps also the other theory, that Peter established the church of Rome and for 25 continual years was her first bishop, is supported upon a historical basis? History testifies that in idolatrous and world-ruling Rome, the seat of ceasars, simple Christians first preached Christianity, who for matters would come from the East to Rome. And even slaves, who would serve in the rich houses of the Romans and in those very palaces of the ceasars. It was, you see, a time, during which every Christian would exercise missionary work and as his first vocation had the dissemination of the Christian faith. So Christianity existed in Rome even before the arrival of the apostles there.
But even if we still accept that Peter established the church of Rome, what of it? Peter only established the church of Rome? Before he would reach Rome and martyr there, Peter had visited some 20 cities of the East and had established churches. But no one of the bishoprics of these churches of the East even conceived of raising ambitions concerning primacy, [just] because the apostle Peter had passed through their city. Can you imagine what would have happened in the Church, if all the bishops of the cities, which the apostle Peter had visited, would think just as the bishop of Rome thought? We would then have, instead of one primacy, a multitude of primacies, a multitude of bishops quarreling, as [did] the sons of Zebedee, which of them is the greatest. It is not possible for a dumber and more foolish idea to exist.
And yet! The followers of papism, setting the above theory as the substructure, began to build [upon it] the papal state, to raise up the pope’s throne. Continually the pope is elevated. In the beginning his followers said: “The pope is above all bishops.” After a short while they added: “ The pope is above all archbishops and patriarchs”. A wave of protest overcame the heart of the holy father, when he was informed that the bishop of Constantinople took on the title of ecumenical. A collision of thrones began. The throne of the pope was always being raised, as the tower of Babel. The pope not only above bishops, archbishops and patriarchs, but also even above rulers, kings and emperors. And only above them? The tendency for the elevation of the papal throne knows no bounds. Always higher is the pope’s throne! This is the motto of papists. And behold now the pope is above fathers and teachers of the Church. To a monk of a famous order of the roman catholics, who dared to express doubt about the theory concerning the pope, the spiritual father of the monastery said:
“We ought to follow first and foremost the word of the pope, when it concerns matters of the faith, despite the thousands of saints, Augustines, Jeromes, Gregories, Chrysostoms, etc.”.
But perhaps the tower of Chalani stops at this point? No. The pope’s throne always is higher! And behold now the pope is above those very ecumenical Synods, which he not only has the right to convene, but also, [once] having convened them, at whatever moment may dissolve or postpone them, or even in their different decisions to set forth the veto, more powerful than the opinion of thousands of bishops.
What throne was ever raised higher? Before the pope’s throne one sees falling face down even bishops and cardinals and princes and kings and kissing not his hand, but his slipper.
And we ask: the elevation of the pope to such-kind of height, is this in accord with the spirit of the New Testament, a spirit of deep humble-mindedness and simplicity, which Christ Himself, the eternal high-priest, and the prototype of all the hierarchs, taught upon the earth and indicated by his example? We think, that they shall not be far from the truth, those who, seeing the pope’s throne pridefully being raised above political and ecclesiastical thrones, above every principality and authority upon the earth, automatically recall in their memory a certain passage of Isaiah (14: 12-21). In this passage one sees that someone else (let us not name him), not remaining satisfied in the position he was found to be, full of pride and haughtiness, conceived in himself a plan for his elevation, through which he also heard the censure of the Most High through the following lightning-bolt words,
“You said in your intellect: I shall rise up to heaven, above the stars of heaven I shall set my throne; I shall sit in a high mountain, upon the high mountains to the north: I shall rise up above the clouds, I shall be like unto The Most High…” (Is. 14: 13-14).
But that other prop too, upon which is supported the theory concerning the pope, which is that the pope is infallible, is not able to stand. And how is it possible for infallibility to stand, this newer dogma of papism, when the history of popes mentions popes, who crashed upon the rocks of errors/deceptions and heresies, shipwrecking in regard to the faith? Was pope Marcellos infallible, to mention examples, who fell into idolatry and offered sacrifice on the altar of Aphrodite and the rest of the idolatrous gods to save his life and his property during the persecution of Diocletian? Was pope Julius infallible, who was condemned as a heretic by the synod in Sardis? Was Liberius infallible, who espoused the errors/deceptions of Arius and condemned as a heretic Great Athanasios the champion and defender of Orthodoxy? Was Felix II infallible, whose views were so fearful and scandalous, that the Christians of Rome would not enter into the temple, in which he liturgized? Was Honorius infallible, who was a fanatic follower of monotheletism, having been condemned by the Sixth Ecumenical Synod? Was Gelasios infallible, who set forth heretical views concerning the dogma of the divine Eucharist? Were the popes Sextus V, Urbanus VIII, Zacharias, Pious II and Pious IV, infallible who fell into various faults and errors/deceptions concerning correct teaching? But they shall answer us: The popes are infallible when they speak ex cathedra.
O their sophistry!
The history of the popes cries out. It cries out not only against those popes, who, through the errors/deceptions and heresies that they preached, loudly shouting disprove infallibility, but shouts out loudly still more against those popes, who through their degenerate and criminal life overthrew the charm of the pope of Rome, and provoked the wrath and indignation of the uprising of people. Shall we mention names? Shall we narrate lives? Shall we expose labors of popes? Even the white paper upon which we write will turn red out of embarrassment. Holy fathers robbers, evil-doers, felons, monsters surpassing the monstrosity even of the worst worldly rulers, whose names provoke the dread of souls. And what can one say regarding pope John XXIII, about whom a Greek journalist lately published a special book? The pope previous to the last wanted to be called John XXIII not so much, in our opinion, to prove that before him no canonical pope by the name of John XXIII existed, as much as, through his careful life to wash away the shame, which the name of that degenerate life and criminal pope had become attached to the papal throne.
And after so many errors/deceptions, so many heresies, so many degenerate lives, so many crimes of popes, one is at a loss as to understand how papists support the theory concerning primacy and infallibility.
But even if we still wanted to suppose that all the bishops of Rome, from the first to the last, constitute a gold chain of wise and holy men, among whom no heretic and degenerate exists, yet again the theory concerning the primacy is not able to stand hagiographically and historically. For a monarchical and absolutist, totalitarian regime in the Church, as is papism, the New Testament in no way favors. No one of the apostles lorded over the others. If the apostles differed among themselves, they differed as regards the height of virtues, just like mountain peaks do. But in respect to the apostolic office they were all equal. All were and were called apostles, and no one a super-apostle. And the questions that arose in the Church they would solve according to a democratic manner, as in the case of the choosing of the apostle Matthias, the choosing of the seven deacons, and in the case of circumcision, for which an apostolic Synod was convened, to whose decision all obeyed. The Church, according to the teaching of the New Testament, is similar to the body, in which all the members, even the ones considered to be the most humble, have their place, and by working in common sustain the body. Whereas the Church, according to the theory of papism, as one thinker has rightly observed, is like not unto the body, but like unto the pyramid, in which the higher, superior members pressure the lower, inferior ones, and the peak pressures all the parts without exception and rules over all.
The theory concerning primacy is, according to us, the fundamental difference between papism and the Eastern Church, a difference from which as from a cloudy source also originated all the other differences. And that Filioque, the most important dogmatic difference, if we want to delve deeper, we shall see that it was introduced into the Creed or Symbol of faith in order to extol the Son, and the Son being extolled, to extol Peter too, to whom the Son gave the authorities, and Peter being extolled to extol the pope too, that unique inheritor of the exceptional privileges of Peter!
Ubi papa, ibi Spiritus sanctus (=wherever the pope is, there is the holy Spirit): behold”, as the Russian theologian Nicholas Beliaeff, “behod the papal principle, through which the Roman bishops want to justify their ambition and claim to rule over even those very Ecumenical Synods. This same principle, continually developing, naturally and unevitably is in duty bound to bring apotheosis (deification) to papism.
The person studying the subject of papism remains amazed before arrogant ideas, claims and ambitions of the popes. Precisely this theory, leading to the divination of a single person, is first and foremost that, which provoked and provokes a crisis of conscience in the followers of roman catholicism. When in 1870 the infallibility of the pope was preached as dogma, about 200,000 followers of papism, together with their priests and bishops, not tolerating any more the flight of pride, to which the pope arose, drew away from roman catholicism and formed the religious portion of the old catholics, which until today exists as a living and intense protest against papism. Precisely this theory provokes the deep crisis of conscience also in the Hispanic monk of the frankish order, Paul DeBallester Convalier, who also wrote the greatly studied book entitled My Return to Orthodoxy, a book which is worth reading for every orthodox, so that he might see the harsh and painful journey of a soul until the same came out of the region of papism and reached Orthodoxy. Precisely this theory concerning primacy shall not cease even into the future to provoke the implacable questions in the depths of the souls, of the followers of the papal dogma, who, living in the midst of a world becoming all the more and evolving more democratically, seeing their church remaining under a totalitarian, absolutist regime, under a regime that undoubtedly constitutes the perversion of the genuine polity of the Church of Christ.