On False Ecumenism Prior to the 20th Century

This post is dedicated to our anti-ecumenical True Orthodox brethren who have gone so far as to say that all the Orthodox Patriarchates are apostate and graceless due to our contemporary ecumenical woes. One of the gravest errors of the True Orthodox is the belief that false ecumenism is basically a 20th century phenomenon. The excerpt below will plainly demonstrate that the pan-heresy of false ecumenism has actually plagued the Orthodox Catholic Church more acutely prior to 1920 (e.g. the Patriarchal Encyclical ‘To the Churches of God Everywhere’), 1924 (e.g. the New Calendar) and 1965 (the ‘Lifting of the Anathemas’). Communicatio in sacris, joint services, heterodox confessors and preachers and crypto-romanist hierarchs were rampant, even affecting Mt. Athos; and yet no True Orthodox holds that the Eastern Patriarchates fell prior to the 20th century…  

As problematic as the heresy of false ecumenism truly is within the Church, with a knowledge of recent history, one could actually dare to say that our plight has significantly improved. It is ever the duty for all Orthodox Christians to pursue and keep the Truth as we received it from the Holy Fathers and to resist relativism, modernism and the misanthropic pseudo-love of false unions.

St. Vincent of Lerins – To preach any doctrine therefore to Catholic Christians other than what they have received never was lawful, never is lawful, never will be lawful: and to anathematize those who preach anything other than what has once been received, always was a duty, always is a duty, always will be a duty. (The Commonitory 9.25)

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

[I]f an underlying hostility towards Rome is never entirely absent, it is surprising how little it is in evidence in the Greek world of the seventeenth century. Despite occasional outbreaks of hostility, particularly at Constantinople and Jerusalem, encounters between Orthodox and Roman Catholics were often extremely cordial. Mixed marriages were frequent; the two sides took active part in one another’s services; western missionaries, with full permission from Orthodox authorities, preached in Orthodox churches and heard the confessions of Orthodox faithful; Orthodox received communion from Roman Catholic priests, while Greek converts to Rome were often told by the western missionaries to receive communion as before at Orthodox altars; a Roman Catholic was accepted as godparent at an Orthodox baptism, and vice versa. Both sides frequently acted as if the schism between east and west did not exist. The Latin missionaries, in the absence of any bishop of their own, behaved towards the local Orthodox bishop as though they recognized him as their ordinary; the Orthodox authorities for their part, so far from repudiating the missionaries as intruders, welcomed them as friends and allies, and encouraged them to undertake pastoral work among the Greek population.

Instances of common worship and communicatio in sacris during the seventeenth century are so frequent that only a few examples can be mentioned here (the evidence is set forth in detail by P. Grigoriou, and by G. Hoffman in numerous articles). Some of the most striking cases are found in the Ionian Islands, at this time under Venetian rule. An anonymous Athonite monk of the sixteenth century has left a vivid description of the situation prevailing on Kerkyra (Corfu), where members of the two churches lived side by side on terms of the utmost friendship. While the monk himself disapproved strongly of what went on — he entitles his work ‘The Errors of the Corfiots, on Account of Which We Excommunicate Them’ — it is evident that on Kerkyra itself these acts of friendship were accepted as a matter of course. The Greeks, so the monk writes, receive communion from Roman priests and go to them for confession. The clergy of the two churches hold joint processions on Corpus Christi and on Holy Saturday, and even celebrate the Eucharist simultaneously in the same building, although at separate altars:

“The Latins hold a procession with the unleavened bread which they consecrate and call the Holy Gift. In front walk the Jews, then the Greeks, and after them the Latins — all of them together dressed up in their holy vestments; they sing together and all become one.

The Latins observe a festival in their cathedral in honor of a certain Arsenius, a local saint; and Greeks and Latins celebrate the Liturgy together in the same building, but at separate altars. The Greeks read the epistle first, and then the Latins, and the same thing happens with the Gospel. As for the people, both nations stand mixed up together in front of two altars, praying together and singing together…

On Holy Saturday the Greeks and Latins assemble in one of the Latin churches and the priests of both sides together carry upon their heads the Epitaphion or Lamb, all together carrying the same Epitaphion, and they go with it to another church.” (Athos, Iviron, ms. 1340, quoted in Grigoriou, pp. 112-13)

When the Orthodox Archpriest at Kerkyra died, the Latin clergy of the island sued to take part in his funeral procession, wearing vestments and carrying candles; the Orthodox clergy did the same at the funeral of the Roman Catholic bishop. The Orthodox clergy ceremonially attended the enthronement of  a new Roman bishop, while the Roman bishop in turn paid ceremonial visits of courtesy to the Orthodox. On Saint Spiridon’s day in the year 1724, for example, Cardinal Quirini went to the Liturgy in the Orthodox cathedral, clad in his cappa magna and preceded by a chaplain with a great cross of silver. He was received in procession on his arrival; after the reading of the Gospel the book was brought to him to be kissed; at the end of the service he was solemnly presented with the antidoron.

Much the same things happened on nearby islands. On Zakynthos (Zante), as on Kerkyra, joint services were held, and at the end of these functions the clergy of both churches sang the Ad Multos Amnos first in honor of the Pope of Rome and then for the Patriarch of Constantinople. On Kephallenia, when an Orthodox procession with a miracle-working icon passed a Latin church, the Roman Catholic priest used to come out with the incense and candles to cense the icon; Orthodox clergy did the same when the Corpus Christi procession went past their churches, and themselves took part in the actual procession. The liturgical arrangements for the Holy Saturday procession were even more remarkable on Kephallenia than on Kerkyra: on top of the Orthodox Epitaphion was placed the Latin Blessed Sacrament (whether in monstrance or a ciborium is not stated), and the Epitaphion with the Sacrament was then carried processionally by the Roman Catholic Archbishop and the Orthodox Archpriest, walking side by side, assisted by two leading laymen of the respective churches.

Turning from the Ionian to the Aegean islands, we find similar instances of communicatio in sacris. On Andros, where the population was predominantly Orthodox, the Greek bishop and his clergy in full vestments, with candles and torches, took part in the Latin Corpus Christi procession; the same thing occurred on Mykonos and Naxos, and elsewhere. In some places — Naxos, for example — the Roman Catholics were allowed to say Mass in Orthodox churches, using a temporary altar in front of the iconostasis. Elsewhere — on Thera, for instance, and Paros — there were ‘mixed churches’, with two altars in adjacent sanctuaries, one for the Roman and one for the Byzantine rite. As late as the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were two Orthodox churches on Syros, containing Latin altars still used by Roman Catholic clergy.

The Orthodox authorities gladly employed the Latin missionaries as preachers and confessors. “I have received written permission from the Greek Metropolitan”, writes a Jesuit from Naxos in 1641, “to preach and catechize in Greek churches.” The Orthodox Metropolitan in Smryna, so another Jesuit reports, “has given his subjects complete freedom to go to our clergy for confession… and to our clergy he has given full power to hear confessions in his church both from Greeks and Latins.” On Thera, the nuns of the Orthodox convent of Saint Nicholas had Jesuit Fathers as their confessors; at Athens a retired Orthodox Metropolitan went regularly for confession to a French Capuchin priest.

Not only the higher authorities but the local population received the missionaries with great enthusiasm. “During the seasons of Lent and Advent”, a Jesuit priest relates, “…the preachers, on leaving the pulpit [of the Latin churches], are sometimes forced to go up again into those of the Greek and Armenian churches, to satisfy the desire which people have to hear the word of God… The missionaries often go to pay their respects to the [Greek] bishops and clergy, with whom we maintain a perfect understanding; the conversation is always on some religious topic, for several of them ask only to be instructed.” “The Greeks and the Syrians”, writes Père Besson in the middle of the seventeenth century, “open their houses to the apostolic men; they open even the doors of their churches and their pulpits. The parish priests welcome our assistance, the bishops beg us to cultivate their vineyards.”

The attitude of the Greek bishops is intelligible enough: they needed preachers and confessors; their own clergy were for the most part simple and ill-educated; the Latin missionaries were incomparably better qualified to give instruction and spiritual direction. But what was the attitude of the missionaries toward the Orthodox who came to them for confession? Sometimes they encouraged them to make an act of submission to the Roman Catholic Church, but more often — particularly when their penitents were ignorant and uneducated — they gave them absolution without embarking on any matters of religious controversy. And even when the Greeks did make a formal act of adherence to Rome they were usually told by the missionaries to continue outwardly in their previous allegiance, receiving communion as before from Orthodox priests. If there was no Roman Catholic bishop available, the missionaries sometimes even allowed their converts to accept ordination from an Orthodox bishop. In practice they treated the Orthodox not so much as schismatics who required to be reconciled to the Church, but as if they were already Catholics, albeit Catholics who had fallen into certain corruptions and errors from which they required to be purged gently. It is to be noted, however, that throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the higher authorities at Rome itself adopted a far more rigorous position, in general forbidding all communicatio in sacris with Orthodox, although occasional exceptions were permitted (Pope Benedict XIV, for example, stated in a session of the Holy Office on 24 February 1752: ‘Communicationem in divinis cum haereticis non posse nec debere tam facile ac tam generaliter pronunciari in omni penitus circumstantia de jure vetitam‘). But the missionaries took little notice of the directives which they received, and persisted in their more tolerant attitude.

The Orthodox not only welcomed the western missionaries when they arrived, but frequently took the initiative and invited them to come. We may take as an example the relations between Athos and Rome during the second quarter of the seventeenth century. In 1628 Ignatius, Abbot of the monastery of Vatopedi on the Holy Mountain, visited Rome and asked the Propaganda to send a priest to set up a school on Athos for the monks. In answer to this request, Nicholas Rossi, formerly a student at the college of Saint Athanasius in Rome, was sent in 1635-6 to Athos, and opened a school at Karyes. In 1641, however, the Turkish authorities forced him to move with his school to Thessalonica; he died the following year and soon after the school came to an end. In 1643 the ruling synod of the Holy Mountain — the Great Epistasia — sent a letter to the Pope, asking a church be given them in the city of Rome, in which monks from Athos could serve, while a the same time carrying on their studies; in return they offered a kellion or skete on Athos, for use of Basilian monks from Italy who wished to live on the Holy Mountain. Although nothing came of this suggestion, it shows that the Athonite authorities at this date cannot have felt much hostility to Rome.

The same friendship and trust was displayed by Damaskinos, Greek Metropolitan of Aegina. In 1680 he wrote to Pope Innocent XI, asking that two Jesuits be sent to the island, qualified to teach and to hear confessions from clergy and laity of diocese. His letters begins:

“Most blessed ruler set up over us by God, Pope of Elder Rome, God-protected Shepherd of the true sheep of the Word, equal to the angels, honorable, holy, and true Head, guarding the Apostolic Church, the boast of Orthodox Christendom, supreme bishop, guardian, locum-tenens and vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Specific though this declaration may appear, Damaskinos probably intended it not as a formal submission to Rome, but rather a piece of diplomatic courtesy; yet when diplomatic courtesy is carried to such a point, it paves the way for a formal submission. And whatever precise weight be attached to the Metropolitan’s words, the fact remains that he was fully prepared to use Roman Catholic religious for pastoral work in his diocese.

These are but a few examples out of many; but sufficient has been said to indicate something of the friendly relations prevailing during the seventeenth century between Orthodox and Roman Catholics in may parts of the Greek world. On the local level, the schism was in practice quietly ignored. (Eustratios Argenti: A Study of the Greek Church Under Turkish Rule by Kallistos Ware, pp. 17-23)


  1. holy smokes!

    What were our complaints again?!

    Wow. I can’t justify being an Old Calendarist.

    Seriously. If the saints couldaintaon communion with their Hierarchs in THOSE circumstances, who are we to break communion over dialogs and calendar changes?

    I repent.

  2. Daniel,

    I can’t really tell if you’re being serious, but I see that you get the point of the post nonetheless. I had an Old Calendarist priest tell me that I can’t compare ecumenism with pious Roman Catholics in that time period to ecumenism now. I disagree. Thanks for visiting and adding your perspective again.

  3. I am actually serious.

    I was a GREEK Old Calendarist, belonging to both the Florinites and Matthewites at different times.

    I promise in all our polemical works we NEVER talked about the stance of the Kollyvades fathers in 18th century GREECE. Never was it mentioned.

    Selective amnesia?

    Anyway, I acknowledge my defeat, gladly. How can we be more strict and exacting than our fathers were in almost the same circumstance?

    No, I have no legs to stand upon.

    I acknowledge that every declaration I made of others being under anathema was an usurpation on my part of authority belonging solely to a competent synod.

    I now acknowledge the difference between individuals who may anathematize themselves subjectively and in the eyes of God, but who remain unanathematized by the Church, and those whom the Church expels from her midst with anathema. The former are formally members of the Church, but not spiritually, pending their repentance, and the latter are completely severed from the body of the Church and of Christ, pending their repentance.

    I also acknowledge that the only deviations in ROCOR’s mission was her brief deviation into communion with the Old Calendarists, and that her extrication from their communion restored the path they were walking formerly in the days of St John of Shanghai.

    Truly, I now see what I could not see before. Perhaps this candor seems al oat disingenuous, but I assure you, I have only ever sought the truth. And it appears I have found it.

    If ever you wanted a mission to Old Calendarists, this kind of evidence is exactly what you need! Exactly!

  4. Daniel,

    Glory to God! Thank you for sharing this information and I’m ecstatic that our labors were worthwhile to someone. It takes a lot of humility to publicly admit errors. Lord knows I’ve made some.

    As far as ROCOR’s association with Old Calendarists, I look at it as something that they had to go through. Once they got a taste of their dis-integrative tendencies, they broke their association with them (e.g. the Matthewites, Auxentian Florinites and the Panteleimonites). One can see in the writings of ROCOR notables how the earlier complimentary things that they said about the Greek zealots become quite critical of them. Btw, the OCA also embraced Greek Old Calendarists in Astoria under the care of Archimandrite Petros, not many know about this.

    I admit that I was (am) tempted with Old Calendarism due to the ecumenical excesses occurring in Constantinople and elsewhere, but when I started to examine history and their claims, I found that they have a double standard. If they have a problem with the Church now, then they most certainly would have been in schism from Constantinople and Moscow in the past. And therefore, in schism from St. Seraphim of Sarov, the Kollyvades Fathers and the Optina Elders, all of which were persecuted by the “official” Church organization.

    Anyways… please stay in contact brother. And if (pseudo-ecumenical) times get rough, we can lean on each other by email or phone. Check out this helpful link from a GOA priest in response to a question I asked him months ago:


    in ICXC,


  5. Let me share with you something encouraging, in terms of where our hierarchs stand in relation to the heresies they seem fond of embracing one moment, and denying the next:

    St. Nikodemos says in his commentary on the canons:

    “We must know that the penalties provided by the Canons, such as deposition,
    excommunication, and anathematization, are imposed in the third person
    according, to grammatical usage, there being no imperative available. In such
    cases in order to express a command, the second person would be necessary. I
    am going to explain the matter better. The Canons command the synod of living
    bishops to depose the priests, or to excommunicate them, or to anathematize
    laymen who violate the canons.

    Yet, if the synod does not actually effect the deposition of the priests, or the
    excommunication, or the anathematization of laymen, these priests and laymen,
    are neither actually deposed, nor excommunicated,nor anathematized. However
    they are liable to stand trial judicially here regarding deposition,
    excommunication, or anathematization, but there regarding divine judgment.
    Just as when a king commands his slave to whip another who did something that
    offended him, if the slave in question fails to execute the king’s command, that
    slave will nevertheless be liable to a trial for the whipping.

    So those mindless men commit a great error who say that at the present time
    all those in Holy Orders who have been ordained contrary to canons are actually
    deposed. It is a priest-accusing tongue that mindlessly speaks foolishness, not
    understanding that the command of the canons, without the practical activity of
    the second person that is of the synod, remains without any effect. The Apostles
    themselves unmistakably explain what they mean in their Canon XLVI. Since
    they do not say that any bishop or priest who accepts a baptism performed by
    heretics is already and actually in a state of having been deposed, but that they
    command that he be deposed, or that he stand trial, and if it be proved that he
    did so, then they say, “we command that he be stripped of Holy Orders by your


    It is entirely possible to onjectively look at the actions of a Practically heretical Patriarch like Bartholomew and say: “He is placing himself under anathema.”

    Objectively, he is.

    BUT at this point, that is between him and God. The reason it is between him and God alone is because a Synod has NOT proceeded to ACTUALLY ANATHEMATIZE him. And until he is ACTUALLY anathematized, he remains, at least formally, a member of the Church.

    Now, HE in particular is often so egregious that I don’t think anyone would be faulted for abandoning his entire Patriarchate.

    but there is a difficulty with that: On the one hand he says terrible things, but on the other he clarifies WHY he says those things: He is being political.

    So the Blatant heresy factor has some mitigation occuring.

    Is it right? No, it is incredibly retarted.

    BUT it is enough (Barely) to suggest he does not INTEND to be heretical. And this can actually take away the justification for leaving him, because we are ONLY allowed to leave a hierarch if he is preaching, in the Church, bareheaded, a heresy previously condemned by a synod or the Holy Fathers.

    In addition, the Serbian Canonist, Bishop Nikodim of Dalmatia makes clear in his commentary on canon 15 of the 1-2 synod:

    “If, however, a Bishop, Metropolitan, or Patriarch begins to preach
    publicly in Church any heretical doctrine that is antithetical to Orthodoxy,
    then the aforementioned clergy have a right and at the same
    time an obligation to separate themselves forthwith from that Bishop,
    Metropolitan, or Patriarch, and for this reason not only will they not be
    subject to any canonical penalty, but will, moreover, even be praised,
    insofar as they have not thereby reprehended or rebelled against legitimate
    Bishops, but against false bishops and false teachers, and
    have not thereby initiated any schism in the Church, but on the contrary
    have delivered the Church, as far as possible, from schism and

    Archimandrite John (a well-known Russian Canonist [later Bishop
    of Smolensk—Trans.]), having in view the historical circumstances
    of the Church of Russia, observes, in his interpretation of the present
    Canon, completely correctly and in accordance with a rigorous
    conception of Canonical science, that a Presbyter who secedes from
    his own Bishop by reason of heretical teaching [on the part of the latter]
    will not be culpable, but praiseworthy, yet when and only when
    the said Bishop begins preaching a doctrine that openly contradicts the
    teaching of the Orthodox Church and has been formally condemned
    by the Church,6
    and if he proclaims this false doctrine openly, publicly,
    and in Church, with resolute intent to subvert Orthodox teaching and
    to uphold heresy; if otherwise (if, that is, a Bishop expresses some private
    opinion of his on matters of faith and morals which might appear
    to someone as incorrect, but is not especially important and is easily
    corrected, the Bishop not yet having been inculpated for deliberate
    unorthodoxy, or again, if the Bishop in question expresses his erroneous
    doctrine in a narrower circle of particular persons, so that it is attainable that the doctrine in question be corrected within this narrower
    circle, the peace of the Church not being breached), in such a case
    no Presbyter has the right to secede high-handedly from his own Bishop
    and create a schism; otherwise, he will be subject to the injunction
    prescribed regarding these matters by the Thirty-first Apostolic Canon.

    (Related Canons: Thirty-first Apostolic Canon; Sixth Canon of the
    Second Œcumenical Synod; Third Canon of the Third Œcumenical
    Synod; Eighteenth Canon of the Fourth Œcumenical Synod; Thirtyfirst
    and Thirty-fourth Canons of the Synod in Trullo; Sixth Canon of
    the Synod of Gangra; Fourteenth Canon of the Synod of Sardica; Fifth
    Canon of the Synod of Antioch; Tenth, Eleventh, and Sixty-second
    Canons of the Synod of Carthage; Thirteenth and Fourteenth Canons
    of the First-Second Synod).”

    Notice, that the Archimandrite John he quotes enlarges upon canon 15 somewhat by more narrowly defining what is meant by it:

    ” if he proclaims this false doctrine openly, publicly,
    and in Church, with resolute intent to subvert Orthodox teaching and
    to uphold heresy; if otherwise (if, that is, a Bishop expresses some private
    opinion of his on matters of faith and morals which might appear
    to someone as incorrect, but is not especially important and is easily
    corrected, the Bishop not yet having been inculpated for deliberate
    unorthodoxy, or again, if the Bishop in question expresses his erroneous
    doctrine in a narrower circle of particular persons, so that it is attainable that the doctrine in question be corrected within this narrower
    circle, the peace of the Church not being breached), in such a case
    no Presbyter has the right to secede high-handedly from his own Bishop
    and create a schism”

    I think it would be simple to say that Bartholomew has REPEATEDLY spoken heretical material that has at LEAST been condemned by the fathers in General.

    BUT it CANNOT be said or really demonstrated that he has INTENDED to subvert the Church and uphold heresy. Because on different occasions he actually speaks in accord with Orthodoxy saying we cannot have union with the Latins unless they repent.

    So it would seem his ambiguity in some ways is what saves his butt.

  6. Dear Daniel,

    This exchange is wonderful, and like you I am a repenting old calendarist. In some ways they, until recently, have had a better propaganda machine amongst the English-speaking Orthodox than the canonical Church.

    Have you read the revelation of St. Joseph the Hesychast? This private vision of his was very helpful for me as well. We still live in difficult times, but we make it much harder on ourselves by abandoning ship, so to speak, into any one of several dozen sects, most viciously set against each other.

    Your distinction between personal spiritual anathema and the Church’s canonically applied anathema is a most important one. Do you have a nearby, healthy Orthodox community (perhaps a ROCOR parish or a traditional monastery like those under Elder Ephraim) to join?

  7. Daniel,

    Great stuff brother! Your statements are very similar to the thinking expressed in the majority of the works of +Chrysostmos of Florina that dealt with the Matthewite schism. My objection to his thinking on this, and it’s a huge one, IF the State Church was not heretical, then on what basis could he leave them in the first place? Then he flip-flopped; however, I think he demonstrated prophetic foresight in not ordaining bishops before his repose. I think that the Florinites and the Matthewites both have valid arguments against one another, and ‘World Orthodoxy’ for that matter.

    The Greek Old Calendarists (and the Russian splinters) became splintered into various warring factions at the outset of their existence because they didn’t heed to the teaching of St. Nikodemos and other canonists that you so eloquently expressed. I’m also glad that you realize that being in ‘World Orthodoxy’ does not make one a fan of the pseudo-ecumenists in our midst. They aren’t bold like heresiarchs of old, they always walk that fine line of ambiguity. Fr. Hopko (+), by no means a ‘traditionalist’, even said that ambiguity reigns supreme in Constantinople.

    If you ever want to write something about this subject, we will gladly post it here.


  8. It is my personal opinion that what we are witnessing in ecumenism is not the apostasy at the end of time, but it’s forerunner, that which prepared the minds and the hearts of many to fall by undermining the basis of orthodox dogma: our ecclesiology.

    However, the hour is late, but not that late. People are turning to Orthodoxy more and More. And I believe the conversion rate will mushroom even further. But soon after we will have an unprecedented fall, and then the end will come.

    The Old Calendarist eschatological framework is also skewed because it puts us later than we really are, similar to the Old Believers.

  9. Amen.

  10. This article is very well known: http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/anti-patristic-stance-old-calendarist-zealots.aspx

    Your brilliant point about zealot ignorance of the precedent set Kollyvades Fathers has been made to them before:

    Many transgressions or deviations (direct and indirect) from the Orthodox phronema—transgressions that are similar to today’s—occurred in those times, especially in parts of the world where the Latins abounded. A multitude of testimonies during the 16th and 17th centuries indicate that it was customary for the Orthodox to commune with the Latins, and vice versa. To this we add the commemoration and recognition of Latin bishops, isolated concelebrations, mixed Mysteries, the granting of Mysteries to heretics, funerals for heretics, studies in heretical schools,[63] the granting leave to the papist Capuchins to confess and teach, etc. Even Metropolitans and monks confessed to Latins (in areas occupied by the Turks and Latins), something which the sacred Makarios of Patmos condemned fiercely, without, however, initiating a schism.[64]
    During the middle of the 17th century “the monasteries of Athos repeatedly called the Jesuits to found a school on the Holy Mount for the spiritual training of monks”!65 Also in the same period “in many places, in Jerusalem, in Alexandria and other places, in one church, in one area, the easterners chant, and in the other [the westerners chant]”!66 During the same periods dialogues also occurred with various branches of the Monophysites and Protestants, who were liked and defended by a significant number of Orthodox Christians. Nevertheless, schisms did not occur in the Orthodox Church, even though holy Fathers struggled against union with groups such as the “Lutheran Calvinists”67.
    9. St. Nikodemos condemned the “Latin-minded ones” of his age, or “volunteer defenders of the Latin false baptism”, as he named them[68]. In 1755 the Eastern Patriarchs synodically decided that the Orthodox “who came from the Latins should be baptized, because until then the Latins were accepted into Orthodoxy mainly by chrismation. Despite this, the Latin-minded ones fought this decision and continued accepting those having the papal sprinkling of the Latins merely by chrismation.
    St. Nikodemos grieved over the great falsification, corruption and misinterpretation of the sacred Canons, and for the “fruit that is fatal and an accessory to the perdition of the soul” which was born of them[69]. He also mourned over the severe transgressions of the sacred Canons (especially Canon 6 of the Fourth, and Canons 14, 19, and 23 of the Sixth). As well he grieved for the Simoniacs, who, according to Saint Tarasius, are worse than the Pnevmatomachi[70]. He wrote that this God-hated (according to Saint Gennadios) heresy had become a virtue[71], and that most are ordained for money[72]. Simultaneously he prudently censured the theologians of his age for their heretical and blasphemous mindsets[73].
    The Saint, along with the other Kollyvades Fathers, struggled fiercely for the sacred traditions. Yet nowhere can we find that they interrupted communion with the Latin-minded ones or the other erring Orthodox. These prudent zealots, contrary to those of today, were able to discern the difference between the Latin-minded ones of their age and the more egregious Latin-minded ones who entered into the false unions of 1274 and a 1439.

  11. I think the Kollyvades Fathers and saints should me the model and Ideal of Conservative Anti-Ecumenists. And indeed in our own day we see people like this, Dr Constantine Cavarnos, who died a schemamonk, Elder Ephraim, many ROCOR priests and bishops and even some Antiochians (Fr Josiah Trenham).

  12. Daniel,

    YES! Exactly right! Those are the people we must cling to. Even V. Moss admits that Mt. Athos is staunchly anti-pseudoecumenist and still on the Old Calendar. We even have many holy ones like Photios Kontoglou that supported the Old Calendarists, nevertheless, they remained with the Church, refusing to blaspheme and declare it graceless. Kontoglou’s letters to Cavarnos have been translated by CTOS, definitely worth a read.


  13. I am trying to find more where we have the Kollyvades fathers speaking out against the abuses you mention here and the crypto- Romanist article.

    Any quotes?

  14. Not presently. But let me do some searching around in some the texts I have. Btw, did you know that at one time the Patriarchs practiced indulgences?

  15. Yes, I read that recently, and it was interesting because they gave a patristic backing for it.

    I think the nuance of the practice was probably different than Roman Catholicism.

    For example, we know that penitents would go and venerate the martyrs and those imprisoned for the faith and help them in order to shorten their penitential period before being admitted to communion.

    But if I recall, this began to be abused, because some of those imprisoned for the faith were beginning to grant a solutions on their own authority.

  16. Daniel,

    I haven’t forgotten what we’re looking for. I’ve been lacking time due to Lent and other duties. Here is St. Nikodemos speaking about hierarchs leading people astray and appointing false, or errant teachers in his day:


    I own this work so I’ll be searching through it after Pascha.

  17. Daniel Smith says:

    So here is what happened to me on Holy Wednesday:

    A few weeks prior I returned to our local Greek Church. I was very nervous because I was a catechumen for two years here before I abandoned them for the Florinites.

    No one was really upset at me (a couple were initially sort of incredulous obviously) but the priest: God bless him. He was processing the Gospel to the Narthex and he saw me and almost did a double take. He set it on the Icon stand and went up to me and embraced me and kissed on the cheek, and I asked for his forgiveness: his response- “May God forgive us both.”

    After the liturgy he came and talked to me and I told him how right he was and how wrong I had been and asked his forgiveness. He dismissed it with a wave, like don’t worry about it!

    Several weeks later on Holy Wednesday, I am at the service for the Holy Unction, just to see it and receive a blessing the priest gives. He had tried to get ahold of me earlier in the day but I was unable to talk to him. I had also been praying that day to St Matrona of Moscow, asking for her to establish my heart in peace and confirm for me the peace I had felt at my return was not simply a delusion. Well when the time came to go to the front of the Nave for a blessing, it came to be my turn, and I was just going to receive a blessing: Father looks at me and says nonchalantly, “Oh, you go to the back of the line and wait because I will just Chrismate you and then grant you the sacrament of Holy Unction.”

    So I hadn’t even begun to seek this on my own yet! Christ ushered me forward and it seemed St Matrona was confirming I was in the right place. None of this occurred of my own will. It literally happened to me! I planned on at least a six month probationary period to establish my sincerity and stability.

    But God has other plans. And I can confirm in a very very very lesser way what Papa Ephraim of Katanoukia said: the Grace of the Mysteries is more clearly evident here than with the Florinites or Matthewites.

    Another interesting development- my love of the intellectual side of Orthodoxy is diminishing and I see it being replaced with a desire to be holy, to really be Orthodox! But I still have to be careful of the “I have arrived” delusion. I opened the door and walked onto the path. The destination is still in the heavens. But I can tell you with my whole heart that when I lift my eyes to the hills I see the gleam of the Celestial city! It is far and faint and it doesn’t burn very bright- but it is there!

    Pray that I can abandon this stupid vainglorious nature and the arrogance and pride that makes our prayers an abomination which God resists.

  18. Daniel,

    Thank you for sharing this edifying story. You were actually on my mind recently. I will pray for you, please pray for me! I suffer acutely from “Orthodoxy of the head”, which is one of the greatest temptations of our time according to Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina. God grant us an Orthodoxy of the heart instead! The offer is still on the table if you ever desire to write about your story brother. Thank you. Glory to God!

    in ICXC,

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