On Beneficial Sternness

Met. Philaret of New York 1903-1985

I wish to return to the issue of heresy and schism. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Anthony [Khrapovitsky] asks: “is it permissible to be stern with heretics, who perhaps sincerely believe in the righteousness of their cause?” “One must never idealize heretics”, he replies, “since the basis for their departure is not virtue, but the passions and sins of pride, obstinacy, and malice. Sternness towards heretics”, says Vladyka, “is beneficial not only for the sake of protecting people from their influence, but also for the heretics themselves.”

We have seen that the Holy Fathers equate obstinate schismatics with heretics. Consequently, is it proper to coddle them as, unfortunately, occurs among us? And all this for the sake of an evil and false “peace”... (Letter to Abbess Magdalena)