Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren Does Single-Hand Consecration of Bishop; STOC Reacts

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Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren Does Single-Hand Consecration of Bishop; STOC Reacts

May 16, 2015  (Source: http://serbiantrueorthodox.blogspot.com)

According to the website of the Serbian True Orthodox Church under Bishop Akakije, it seems that the dissident Serbian Patriarchate Bishop, Artemije of Raska and Prizren in Kosovo, has performed a single-hand consecration on April 13/26 of this year (Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers).  The new bishop is a Bishop Nikolaj, who had previously been the Abbot in C.rna Rekka.

Attempts have been made by Bishop Akakije and others members of the Serbian True Orthodox Church to reach an agreement with Bishop Artemije and his followers. However, the report of the events that transpired, as given to the Hierarchical Council of the Serbian True Orthodox Church, proved disappointing. Bp. Artemije still viewed the True Orthodox in Serbia in an extremely negative light, and viewed all Greek Old Calenadrists as schismatic.  When informed that Bp. Nikolai (Velimirovich) had in the 1940s aided the True Orthodox in Greece in various ways (by giving them Holy Chrism,  and offering to help consecrate additional bishops with Metropolitcan Chrysostomos of Florina), Bp. Artemije seemed totally unaware of this, and refused to believe it.

The Serbian True Orthodox Church published a criticism of single-hand consecrations, and of Bp. Artemije’s position on the Serbian Patriarchate.  It seems, however, that they still hold out a great deal of hope for the future though;  if Bp. Artemije and the new Bp. Nikolai could be convinced to join the Serbian True Orthodox Church, it would lead to much larger scale, and more visible, alternative to the ecumenically and modernist minded Serbian Patriarchate. Perhaps it could even lead to the re-establishment of a True Orthodox Patriarchate in Serbia.

 

  • Marlon Scott

    Is there any proof that St. Nikolai sought to help the Greek Old Calendarists? I’ve seen this same assertion in Moss’ works but with no notation.

    • HmkEnoch

      This I’ve heard again and again. It would be interesting to have some article, or letter quoted, or something of the such.

      • Marlon Scott

        Honestly, I’m shocked that Greek Old Calendarists would even want to claim St. Nikolai as an advocate. In the preface of Viscuso’s translation of the Pan-Orthodox Congress, he documents that Bp. Nikolai was in favor of second marriages for clergy and the New Calendar. Plus, if a Old Calendarist read his sermons to the Anglicans from that period they would be aghast.

        [E]xclusive church education makes a bigot. These three kinds of people (alas! the majority), egotists, chauvinists and bigots, will be

        • Marlon Scott

          Here is another quote from the same: If you ask what saintliness ought to mean, Christianity has not to argue but to show you the saintliness in the flesh. Christ the saintly Lord, St Paul and St John, Polycarp and Leo, Patrick and Francis, Sergius and Zosim, St Theresa and hundreds of other saints. And if somebody thinks still that a few thousands of Christian saints are not a sufficient argument to show that saintliness is practicable, then the Church has still not to give her ideal up and to take as her ideal thousands of great and small Napoleons and Bismarcks, and Goethes and Spencers, or Medics and Cromwells or Kaisers and Kings–no, in the latter case it would be much nicer for the Church to point out the saintly men outside of Christian walls, like St Hermes and St Pythagoras, or St Krishna and St Buddha, or St Lao-Tse and St Confucius, or St Zoroaster and St Abu-Bekr. Better even is unbaptised saintliness than baptised earthliness.

          From Nikolai Velimirovich and Justin Popovich on Ecumenism:

          Metropolitan Amphilocus notes: “While being in constant dialogue with Europe and America, in his first period of life, we can say that Bishop Nikolai considered himself, especially toward Europe, as a student.” He was tied to the reality of the societal currents and messianic enthusiasms of his time, distinctive to Europe and to European intellectual and ecclesiastical circles in the first half of the twentieth century. But in his mature period, in the wartime and postwar time – sobered by Nazism and Bolshevism, and after experiencing Dachau – he no longer behaved toward Europe as a student but rather as a prophet who, in the spirit of the Old Testament prophets, felt responsible for not only for his people but for all the people of Europe and the world without exception.
          Nikolai begins in his youth with a kind of ecumenical humanistic vision of the Church, but in deepening his experience of the Church (which was the result of his encounter with Orthodox Russia, the Ohrid of SS. Clement and Naum, and the Holy Mountain of St. Sava and other Athonite Fathers), he develops a clear distinction between “heterodox churches” and the Orthodox Church.

          Perhaps he offered help in his mature period, but there is no proof of this and no confession of repentance to a canonical True Orthodox synod. Plus, he maintained and reposed in communion with World Orthodoxy and never embraced the Greek Old Calendarist confession of faith in any of his writings.

          • highlander

            You trust bp. Amphilochius – Vatican’s cardinal in the orthodox vestments?

          • Marlon Scott

            Highlander,

            My comments include a quote by Met. Amphilocius but it’s not about trusting him. His statement actually agrees with your own: St. Nikolai was an ecumenist before he suffered. V. Moss also has the same opinion:

            “It was not only the Greeks who were being influenced by Ecumenism. Thus during the First World War the famous Serbian theologian Fr. Nikolai Velimirovich served with Anglicans in London (he later turned away from ecumenism, and became a great confessor.” New Zion in Babylon 1, p. 60

            Moss bases his statements on St. Nikolai’s early ecumenistic views based on the published private letters between St. Nikolai and Anglican clergyman George Bell by M. Heppell.

            Additiinally, my comments were more about why the STOC, in attempt to gain legitimacy, would want to be associated with a bishop that made ecumenist statements in speech and writing without ever repenting to a True Orthodox synod, a bishop who never embraced their confession of faith and one who died in communion with World Orthodoxy. Met. Amphilocius, heretic or not, is tangential to my point at best.

          • highlander

            I believe that bp. Nikolai’s writings testify the best what his beliefs were, I read them and there is nothing in his writings that would make me believe that he was an ecumenist or heretic, God forbid. St. Nikolai reposed in 1956. at St. Tikhon’s monastery in Pensylvania. Anyone who knows the history of the Serbian church, knows what bp. Nikolai did to keep the church from the heresies. His writings are of great spiritual benefits, and I would recommend everyone to read them. A person who is not spiritually enlightened is not able to write like that. Read at least his Prologue from Ohrid everyday and you will see what I am talking about. Not to mention his book of Homilies or other work. Does V.Moss think that bp. Nikolai wrote all his books in only few years and that he was orthodox only few years? If V.Moss knows everything than how come he does not know at what position was the Serbian church at that time, at what position was the Russian Church Abroad, and does he believe that only the old calendar church of Greece was the only true orthodox Church at that time? And does not he know where these true orthodox bishops come from? If bp. Nikolai was in communion with Russian Church Abroad, does not that mean something? Or Russian Church was heretic at that time. If that is the case than they were all heretics, and than we are heretics as well. There are many things that we need to consider.

          • Marlon Scott

            Highlander,

            Nikolai Velimirovich is a Saint so you’re preaching to the choir. I read his writings, not just the ones that are excellent but ALL of his works. I posted the quotes by him and can supply more. He obviously repented…but not to a canonical True Orthodox synod. Yet the STOC has a problem with the GOC-K union because of the past statements of the SiR AND they want to lay claim St. Nikolai? Plus, St. Justin Popovich was much more anti-ecumenical than St. Nikolai but he’s not a Saint? His writings are also comparably sublime. Where is the consistency?

            I don’t know or care about what V. Moss thinks about the Greek Old Calendarists being the only true Church. However, when ecumenists and anti-ecumenists agree on certain facts of history, and you see the quotes for yourself, it’s obvious that St. Nikolai repented at some point. Plus, as St. Cyril of Alexandris said about Arius and Nestorius: “everything a heretic writes is not heretical”. So, the Orthodoxy of certain works belonging to an author are no rock-solid guarantee of their Orthodxy. For instance, the first Philokalia was an anthology of Origen’s spiritual writings by none other than Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian.

            However, if one holds that the Greek Church is graceless and schismatic because of the New Calendar as the STOC does, and all the other local Churches, including ROCOR and the Metropolia/OCA and St. Nikolai, maintain communion with the Greeks, then what’s that say for them? Again, St. Nikolai, ROCOR and the Metropolia/OCA never embraced the Greek Old Calendar confession and they maintained communion in some form with ecumenists and new calendarists. Obviously, St. Nikolai’s writings AND his actions/life must be taken into account.

          • highlander

            Things would be different now. St. Justin was expecting the Serbian Patriarchate to repent. There is his letter to Patriarchate in which he clearly states that they are in heresy and the time will come when people will separate from them, the bishops. St. Justin was persecuted and under the supervision, he could not do anything else other than write and that is what he did. Why they never made him the bishop even before WWII and why they were against him, remains the question? STOC is not fair toward St. Justin, and that is another reason why people refuse to follow them. I cannot believe their statements.
            They post the comments of bp. Artemios how he works for the government how he is faking everything to drag people away from true orthodoxy (I guess them), how he is the “cyprianist”, how he is tragic, etc. and then they go and ask him to join them?!?! Unbelievable. He refuses and then they start whining.On the other side,bp. Artemios does not say anything, and that makes them even more angry.

          • HmkEnoch

            Highlander,

            Many of us don’t know as much about the situation in the Serbian Patriarchate as others do. We have to rely on translations, and statements from many different groups. This may have frustrating results from your view (and from mine). We are caught in a situation with two or three different sides telling us slightly to profoundly different things about Bp. Artemios, and such.

            We, of course, know the history of the Serbian Patriarchate and ROCOR, and how in some places in the US, even, Serbian clergy continued to concelebrate with ROCOR clergy even in the late 1980s or early 1990s (or, this is what I was told by a priest know was part of ROCOR and knew the reposed Abp. Anthony in Los Angeles). Of course, the counter claim is that this was not ‘official’, and that they had broken with Jerusalem, even, in the 1980s. There seem to be statements that they refused to recognize ‘Patriarch’ German as the legitimate Patriarch, as well. But, everything seems to be a bit confusing on this.

            Therefore, you must understand, if things are confusing on some of these points of history in our very small Orthodox English speaking world, you can imagine what our views of the situation in Serbia are, whatever they are, for good or ill.

            In Christ,

            Fr. Enoch

          • highlander

            I agree – it is confusing. The fact is that all the churches both “true” and “official” were in communion with each other directly or indirectly whether they want to admit it or not. Bp. Artemios is not in communion with official churches, that is the truth, and they clearly stated they will not be in communion with them in the future. I have been following what they are doing for years and I can say there are positive changes. Someone who is much wiser should approach them.

          • HmkEnoch

            The solution, of course, is that someone needs to conduct an interview with Bp. Artemios, or one of his representatives, in which, in a friendly and fair environment, many of these questions are asked. This could be translated into English, and, at that point, we could have a much clearer understanding of what he believes on many of these points. That may not happen, but, at this point, with the current situation, that seems the only way to clarify any matters on this.

          • Marlon Scott

            Amen. Sanity always helps a situation!

          • προσκυνητής

            Marlon Scott, in your post a week ago you provide a quotation from ROCOR synod regarding Greek Old Calendarists after 1976. Please, can you provide a reference for this? I had heard about a synodal decision in late 1978, I believe, in which ROCOR “wiped its hands” (for lack of a better phrase) of the Greek Old Calendarists- similar to the post which you included. I searched through old Orthodox Life periodicals from Jordanville during this timeframe but to no avail. Any help you, or anyone else here, can provide would be appreciated.

          • Marlon Scott

            Proskynetes,

            I got that quote from Vladimir Moss, New Zion in Babylon part V, p. 115.

          • highlander

            One more thing to clarify, I do not have anything against STOC. What I wrote are my observations based on what I have learned reading both sides, bp. Artemios and STOC. The truth is, the STOC clergy is spiritually inexperienced, made mistakes and still making them. They also fell under the influence of V.Moss and this is obvious. What they need is an experienced spiritual father who can guide them. I do not say that they are not in the Truth, but with their actions they did a lot of damage and that is the main reason people do not want to follow them.

          • HmkEnoch

            That’s certainly super-ecumenistic, the statements. It seems, however, as Highlander points out, that, everyone seems to agree (except for one Matthewite cleric I spoke to in the past few years) that Bp. Nikolai made a 180s sometime in the late 30s and early 40s. I should note, however, if (and assuming this), Bp. Nikolai offered to help consecrate additional Bishops with Met. Chrysostomos, or to give Holy Chrism to Orthodox Old Calendar priests in Greece, these certainly would have been 1) far less radical points-actions than his previous statements, and 2) it would not have entailed he embrace the position of the GOC of Greece on the New Calendar Church, right or wrong. 1 is evdient; 2 is as well, when you consider that St. John Maximovitch, Abp. Leonty, Abp. Seraphim, Abp. Averky, Bp. Gregory (Grabbe), Holy Met. Philaret, Fr. Seraphim (Rose), the Holy Bishop Constantine (Essensky), etc, seemed to all favor, to some degree at the very least, helping make bishops and having some communion with the GOC (“Old Calendarists”) in Greece, though, they may have not shared their stance toward the New Calendar State Church (of course, we know that St. Met. Philaret, for example, believed St. John Maximovitch was not quite ‘consistent’ in crossing ‘all the ‘t’ and dotting all the ‘i’ ” on this, But that would be neither here nor there). The GOC’s original position in 1935 was to declared the State Church schismatic, and to cooperate with all the other Patriarchates and friendly local Orthodox Churches that maintained the traditional Calendar. AS we’ve discussed, both the views of the GOC and the ROCOR began to gradually alter in this, especially in the 1960s and by the 1970s (though, of course, ROCOR was never able, in this period, to come to declarations such as the GOC did, mostly because they had hierarchs who held differing views, anywhere from the range of Met. St. Philaret to Abp. Anthony, and as a result, they leaned in one direction, but, that was it).

          • Marlon Scott

            I agree with most of what you state, Fr.

            I’m only shocked that the STOC would even want to lay claim to St. Nikolai. I notice that all these groups attempt to be so rigorous that they paint themselves into a corner. It’s inconsistent and intermittent Matthewitism with some extreme oikonomia practiced when it serves them (oikonomia usually involving some dubious character and/or some person in communion with the State Church of Greece to make bishops for them).

            Also, Met. Philaret was speaking about St. John’s dealings with the Evlogians and the Metropolia (the very group of bishops which St. Nikolai aligned himself with), and not Greek Old Calendarists when he made the “i” and “t” comments. Although even the Metropolia gave help to Greek Old Calendarist parishes in the U.S. under the care of Archimandrite Petros.

            Everyone must realize that ROCOR broke off official relations with all Greek Old Calendarist synods in 1976 due to all the infighting, schisms and inappropriate ordinations.

            The Synod in under Met. Philaret in 1980 stated:

            “Lovingly honouring the podvig of our brethren who have suffered considerably in Greece for their defence of the True Orthodox Faith, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is deeply saddened that division reigns among them. The simultaneous appeal of both Archbishop Auxentius and Archbishop Callistus to his Eminence Metropolitan Philaret bears witness to the depth of the divergence between them. The Russian bishops have no authority to investigate local problems in Greece in detail, much less mutual accusations. And so the Synod of Bishops, as early as 1976, resolved to remain aloof from any decisions and interference in the internal affairs of the Church in Greece. Moreover, for a comprehensive decision in favour of one or the other party, a detailed study of each accusation and the circumstances attendant thereon would be necessary, which seems impractical for the Synod of Bishops. Even less are the Russian bishops able to investigate the regularity of the many ordinations of bishops now performed.

            However, there is no doubt that several ordinations which have been performed by Archbishop Auxentius, especially in the recent past, and which have caused a change in our mutual relations, have entailed serious violations of the canons of the Church and could serve as a basis of an ecclesiastical trial against those who performed them. The ordination of bishops performed by him without need and
            without such bishops having diocesan territory especially gives rise to doubts and suspicions.

            The Synod of Bishops understands the anxiety of Metropolitan Callistus and values his concern for the preservation of communion with the Russian Orthodox
            Church Outside of Russia, as well as his desire to establish genuine ecclesiastical peace and canonical order in Greece. Without doubt, however, such order will never be established until all bishops ordained under dubious circumstances are removed. It would be best then for all bishops who are above suspicion to assemble in order to divide the dioceses among themselves according to territory; and the remaining bishops should be content to go into retirement.

            Only after the removal of all bishops suspected of canonical crimes can a beginning be made for a correct canonical organization of the True Orthodox Church in Greece which would attract to itself and unite all those clergy and laity who are seeking a normal ecclesiastical order.”

            Therefore, ROCOR definitely admired the struggle of the Greek Old Calendarists against the New Calendar and ecumenism from afar, but once they saw them from up close, it did not take long for them to regret their dealings with the Matthewites and the Florinites. Plus, as we discussed, they never signed on to the Greek, Serbian or any local Orthodox Church being graceless. ROCOR did commune with the SiR in 1994 but most Greek Old Calendarists considered them to be heretics and/or schismatics.

          • HmkEnoch

            This is the problem. ROCOR confesses itself, in this statement, to be incompetent to pass a judgment, but, then, they do, in effect, give a judgment on a matter that they say they are incompetent to judge on.

            Even many of the ‘accusations’ they mention against Abp. Auxentios are not longer seriously maintained by anyone (the whole ‘Tsakos’ affair being admitted as a fraud against him; for example, the whole issue of all the major True Orthodox ‘Old Calendar’ Churches in Greece having posthumously ‘rehabilitated’ him). As for the issue of Met. Kallistos, and the midnight ordinations of 10 bishops (which opens up a lot of issues), it seems ROCOR never ultimately had a problem with this most problematic of problems, since one of these 10 bishops was Met. Cyprianos (but, in fairness, another was the Bp. Maximos and several others, including one who is prominent today).

            ROCOR seemed to stand afar off, and, indeed, to offer criticism and even a plan of their own, but, they apparently did not want to get ‘involved’, but, they were, frankly, already involved.

          • Marlon Scott

            I agree with being involved, ROCOR was very much involved and likely the chief player in much of what went on. However, a lot of their initial involvement came from bishops acting against the decisions of the Synod and the Metropolitan.
            Out of the three ROCOR bishops that consecrated hierarchs for the Florinites, all three were in direct communion with the EP and the GOA, + Seraphim said he regretted participating in the consecration, +Theophil was eventually deposed for commemorating a Uniate proving how unstable he was in faith, and + Leonty believed that the RCC had valid Mysteries.

            Archbishop Seraphim of Chicago said this about the Greek Old Calenadarists and his involvement with them:
            “Initially when I took part in the ordination of the late bishop Akakios, I did it in good faith, sincerely thinking that I was helping my Greek brethren. The same can be said about the motivations of our blessed Archbishop Leonty. The confusion, the divisions, the actions, accusations that have since arisen, I had never even suspected back then. Now I have come to appreciate and comprehend the fact that your bishop Chrysostom reposed without leaving successors. The outcome of events indicates that he was a deep conversant of individuals and events, thus not desiring to be responsible for the present sorrowful predicament. I made a mistake ordaining the bishop Akakios the elder as regards to the fact that I did not know well the individuals or the real situation of events in the Greek Church.” (Letter to Abp. Auxentios, 1972)

            The Synod’s involvement with the Greek GOC, and vice-versa, was due to naïveté on both their parts. Neither the Greeks or the Russians had the same confession of faith, nor the same plan of action. Plus, ROCOR should have openly broken communion with World Orthodox Greeks if they intended on ordaining bishops and adjudicating any matters in Greece.

          • HmkEnoch

            Maximus,

            In the purported letter (I know it’s just opening an whole other issue about its authenticity, but, I will accept it for purposes of discussion) of Abp. Seraphim to Abp. Auxentios, you will notice that Abp. Seraphim does not dispute that Abp. Auxentios, and the other GOC clergy and laity, are Orthodox and the Church. So, the intention of Abp. Seraphim’s letter, from my reading, is to remonstrate with the GOC in Greece over what he believes is inappropriate behaviour (especially concerning the treatment of the small Matthewite minority). But, the tenor seem to be, “Well, we’ve done it, now I have a responsibility to try to do something with helping the Bishops whom I ordained, etc,”, as opposed, “You guys aren’t the Church, etc.” Such an attitude is not at all foreign in Church history (i.e. Bishops doing things they later regretted, but, taking responsibility and seeking to try to deal with the circumstances).

            That being said, this does not necessarily mean all the criticism of the letter of Abp. Seraphim are accurate, or well-founded. This does not mean he was in any sense a ‘liar’, but, simply, he could have been not so well-informed of the circumstances. Then again, that may be part of his general feeling, i.e., he wished he had known more!

            Unlike so many other folks, I can simply not get upset in unfurled rage over what is attributed to Abp. Leonty and his statements ( I am assuming they are accurate, b/c not only what Fr. Andre Psarev writes, but, because what he says is simply confirmed by all that we know of the Russian Church’s view on this matter until, at least, the 1918, or so, i.e., see the 1905 Encyclical of the Russian Synod). It is a plain ‘Augustinian’ view, which, while it is not accurate, is certainly not ‘ecumenistic’ (and, as I’ve had to argue before, the Abp. Leonty did not ‘concelebrate’ a funeral service with RC clergy; but, he did, as representative of the Russian community, go to the funeral of the President of Chile); however, note what Abp. Leonty said, even from his ‘scholastic’ view of the Sacraments of the RCC after the Second Vatican Council (i.e., he no longer, from his Russian Scholastic Augustinian view, could say they were ‘valid’). It is simply people who refuse to come to terms with the Russian Church of the post-late 17th century period that fall to pieces, or have massive existential crisis over this. Abp. Leonty, nor any other Russian Orthodox ‘Augustinians’ (like Fr. Archimandrite Constantine (Zaitsev) of Jordvanvill in the 1960s who was absolutely against ‘re’baptism of anyone who had a ‘valid baptism’), taught, of course, that the RCC was part of the Orthodox Church (i.e. One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church), but, simply accepted the non-standard view that there were valid, but unlawful and illicit, sacraments in certain cases outside the Church (like St. Augustine and St. Optatus argued, and some others, or like St. Vincent of Lerins argued with Baptism, etc). If there are Orthodox who are upset about this, and disagree, that’s well and good, but,it may indeed be very much wrong, but, it certainly is not ecumenistic, since it still affirms the Church as One (though, of course, it posit several unreasonable propositions; for more info, simply read the Martyr Abp. Hilariont (Troitsky) since he addresses these issues in his works). Met. Chrysostomos of Florina was educated about all this to know these issues, on the other hand, the general climate of traditional Greek Orthodox thought, which was absolutely against such a view (and still is, which is good), I do not believe, could on a mass level come to terms with this (for example, the Greek Church had gone through this in the 18th century, etc). If ROCOR was to relate to the GOC in the same manner as the pre-Revolutionary Russian Church was to relate to the Greek Church of the 19th and early 20th century, and both had the same view of the exclustivity of the Orthodox Church as being the one True Church, and this issue did not cause schism and profound existential crises then, despite a distinct different, I see no reason it should be disturbing now or then. If some have a problem with it, then they must deal with it.

            Bp. Theophil, of course, was certainly a situation that was bad. If questionable bishops who are part of a local Church, and their future major issues are to be used, then we are all in big trouble.

            These issues just never could generate for many of us the kind of excited disturbance that they have for many people. It generally is something that Matthewites ( or World Orthodox) like to bring up, as if it is a ‘gotcha’, or ‘aha”! moment. But, it simply isn’t, because situations FAR worse have been observed in Church history, with FAR less possible plausible explanation (for example, the circumstances around two sainted Orthodox Patriarchs of Constantinople in the late 490s and early 500s, who are, I believe saints and in the calendar). If that is the case, then, I believe it is at least reasonable to listen to the explanations provided on this matter. And, even if they are not convincing for why this was allowed, this is, of course, not the end of the world for the previous reasons explained (many of us have had ‘far more difficult problems explaining the extreme disparity between the attitudes of the English Church in the 670s to 690s, under St. Theodore in how he deal with the Welsh and Irish Church, and then a nearly 180 reversal after after St. Theodore, as evidenced by St. Aldhelm of Sherborne’s mission to them [i.e., how could St. Theodore declare their ordinations invlaid, their baptism invalid, and them without the Church, while St. Aldhelm convinces the English Church that, without detriment to the memory of St. Theodore, that this was wrong, and the Welsh and Irish Churches are Orthodox, and part of the Church and they are brothers, see further St. Wilfrid testimony at the 680 Synod of Rome, which always accepted the Celtic Churches Orthodoxy]).

            However, if, for many people, they assume everything starts in the 1920s or 1930s, or the 1960s, whoever they maybe, even well intentioned and devout men and women, then you will always have a major issue. If we are merely combating phantoms, then no one has anything to worry about. But, none of these problems or questions would ever have arisen if we were simply combating phantoms and invisible foes.

            In Christ,

            Fr. Enoch

          • Marlon Scott

            Fr. Enoch,

            I never thought to imply by my posts that ROCOR ever believed that the GOC was not the Church. Conversely, I can also say that ROCOR as a Synod never thought that the EP and the GOA was not the Church. ROCOR as a Synod ended up washing their hands from all the Greeks until the SiR in 1994.

            From speaking with Fr. M. Baker (eternal memory) I also think that the 17th Russian view, typified by writers like Florovsky, is an actually an augmented Augustinian view. Fr. Baker admitted to me that this view is neither Cyprianic, or Augustinian. Therefore, they did not hold that the RCC possessed Sacraments unto their condemnation since they were heretics, but that they were beneficial in some sense. + Leonty explicitly said that he thought that RCC sacraments were beneficial to Roman Catholics until Vat II and that he remained skeptical subsequent to that council. Intentional or not, this is the open door for ecclesiological problems. I think that True Orthodox should not take such theology lightly, whatever the provenance. I also think that you hold the key to educating the True Orthodox about the ancient apostolic Western (aka Augustinian) view so that they don’t consider certain writers to be ecumenists or the ancient Roman Church to be “wrong” from the very beginning on this issue.

            We’ve discussed these issues before so I’m not trying to pull “aha!” moments in your blog, nonetheless, I do think that some of the things I bring up are more important than you hold them to be and that they should be made known to avoid the rigorism that produces perpetual schisms and don’t make for peace.

          • HmkEnoch

            Maximus,

            Then it is a disputed question about a private view in a private letter of a well-known ROCOR bishop who did a great deal in principle and act to help the the GOC. With such a disputed question, such as Abp. Leonty’s interior view on how he viewed things like valid Sacraments in a moderated Augustinian sense (since that later came, in the scholastic schools to take on such subjects as ‘invincible ignorance’, etc), this is no grounds for ‘causing doubts’ in any GOC person.

            With such private opinions of some bishop who did otherwise a great good for the Truth, especially when we are not allowed to examine the full context of the letter (which would be useful), it is better not to pass hasty judgment.

            Considering the fact that the 1905 Encyclical of the Holy Synod of the Russian Church says Orthodox is the only True Church, and the only Ark of Salvation (even though it confesses the Latins of the time to have ‘valid orders’), the question should end there as to their doctrine of the Church and who is saved. If Abp. Leonty erred privately in this matter, it is neither here nor there for the question of Holy Orders.

            I am certainly no such person to do anything. Especially in such a wide ranging issue that goes far beyond the ability of any one person.

            In Christ,

            Fr. Enoch

          • Marlon Scott

            Fr. Enoch,

            I’m not questioning GOC orders! Nor am I questioning the persons of Archbishops Seraphim and Leonty! I’m only saying that if the bishops that are the foundation of the GOC had these positions and beliefs, then people should be less rigorous than they’re attempting to be at the present time to maintain consistency. IOW, “hey STOC, ROAC, etc, and etc: stop all the heresy-hunting when it comes to the GOC-K union.” Additionally, ROCOR did not just fully and uncritically endorse the GOC like many imagine that they did.

            The Confession of 1905 does not accuse or defend those who held to an semi-Augustinian view. St. Hilarion Troitsky speaks of various problematic bishops and theologians in Russia who certainly held to that confession since it was from the Holy Synod, and yet simultaneously held that church schisms don’t extend to the heavens and that Western heterodox baptisms were indeed true baptisms. St. Hilarion was also keen to demonstrate what Sts Stephen and Augustine actually taught. So, unfortunately, the questions cannot just end with the Confession of 1905. Plus, what raging ecumenist wouldn’t say that they too believe in one baptism and one church?

          • HmkEnoch

            Maximus,

            I’m not just going to continue to argue this whole thing ad infinitum, because that’s what ends up happening in all this. No offense, but, whenever you post, and I respond, it never changes, the questions, answers, and responses. Every single one of them in the past look exactly the same as we’ve done here. There isn’t much point…

            In Christ,

            Fr. Enoch

          • Marlon Scott

            Fr. Enoch,

            Thank you for the exchange nonetheless.

  • highlander

    I have been following both sides, bp. Artemios and STOC, and have been reading their websites for long time. The truth is, STOC made some mistakes that will be difficult to correct in the near future. Whatever they do or think they publish on the internet. On the other hand bp. Artemios is much more wiser. The article that STOC published about consecration of archm. Nikolai is sort of revenge to bp. Artemios since he did not want to join STOC. After one of the clergy went and spoke with bp. Artemios, STOC came to conclusion that bp. Artemios will go back to Serbian Patriarchate, which is not true, obviously. What exactly bp. Artemios said on the meeting it is not known, because what STOC published is only one side of the story. This is not first time that STOC is writing about bp. Artemios. In order to attract followers they have been writing negatively about him for long time, but this had negative impact on people and very few want to join STOC. Bishop Artemios is the best Serbian bishop at this time and people are following him simply because they love him nad his confession of faith is correct. The newly consecrated bishop Nikolai who is meant to be vicar is well worthy of that position, he is the spiritual father of many. Whoever knows him and had chance to hear his sermons, knows that. Whether this consecration is valid or not Lord will judge, but there must be the reason why he did that, he has enough knowledge and spiritual experience to know what he is doing. One interesting fact about bp. Artemios is that he was the spiritual child of fr. Justin Popovich. Let’ s hope that someone from the true orthodoxy who is much wiser contacts bp. Artemios, talks with him and finds out what is his real opinion. The fact is, bp. Artemios has already thousands of followers, and ovet hundred of monks and nuns, and clergy, they also built many churches across the country and monasteries. All that in five years.

    • HmkEnoch

      So, Bp. Artemije did not denounce the True Orthodox in Greece (i.e., ‘Old Calendarists’) as schismatic and without the Church? while affirming the ecumenist-modernist Patriarchate of Serbia and Constantinople to be within the Church?

      • highlander

        I was not present at the meeting, but I read their confession of faith and did not find anything in it that would make me think what you say. Bp. Artemios is clear that Serbian Patriarchate is in heresy, and that is the main reason why he and his clergy and laity separated. But, he does say that he cannot say that the whole church is completely without grace, and he does that because there are still people who are not aware of the heresy, and they will gently teach people to make them aware of what is going on, and will pray for their enlightenment. Imagine if you said to beginner: you are a heretic, which STOC did many times in public. So, no, it is not true that bp. Artemios said that heretic bishops are in the Church. I have not read anywhere that he said anything bad about the Greek church, also. About the calendar, he did say that calendar is not a dogmatic issue, it is a mistake, but they would never accept the new calendar.What STOC does not understand is why bp. Artemios claims he is part of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and he explained several times that he cuts himself of the heresy and he continues to be in the Church. Also, STOC claims that bp. Artemios serves together with the new calendar clergy according to the new calendar, and that is simply not true. One more thing they do not like is that on their website bp. Artemios’ clergy posted the letter of a new calendar bp. Seraphim to patriarch of Constantinople, which actually means nothing. Bp.Artemios was fighting for the Truth for many years, and no one can deny that, there are written documents, but when the majority of bishops fell and when he saw that they will not repent, he separated.

        The reasons why he is not going to join STOC:

        – they do not recognize St. Justin Popovich as a Saint

        – they were first in the Greek church, then Russian

        – they divided into two groups

        – they offend bp. Artemios and his clergy in public

        – they changed the name to STOC, instead of leaving the same name SOC, which is the continuation of the Serbian Church

        – etc.

        In my opinion, bp. Artemios is the one who will re-build the church, the two groups that used to be in the Greek church, and on still is, do not have any chance comparing to bp. Artemios. STOC should go to bp.Artemios and ask him to accept them, because they are the ones who need the guidance. STOC did so many wrong moves.I believe that we should give bp. Artemios some time, even if he does not have nice opinion of the Greek old calendar church, which I did not hear him saying, that will change. I do not know whether other true churches are following what bp. Artemios is doing, but let us hope that in the future they will start the talk. Look how many years it took to true churches to unite. He will not go back to Serbian Patriarchate, that is for sure. Serbian patriarchate is currently persecuting other bishops that are traditionalists, and there will be more fight.

        You can read this on the google, here is the link with all the explanations, it is the official site of bp. Artemios

        http://www.eparhija-prizren.org/component/content/article/1348-arh-maxim-bogoslovsko-obrazlozenje.html

        • HmkEnoch

          Then it seems, at least from what you are stating, that the difference would be when each group thinks the Serbian Patriarchate became heretical. Bp. Artemios thinking it is relatively recent, the past few years, I suppose; with Bp. Akakius believing it has been some decades.

          Of course, if Bp. Artemios views the True Orthodox, who have resisted ecumenism and modernism since the 1920s and have endured slander and persecution from the ‘official Church’ as schismatic, then there is an insurmountable divide.

          • highlander

            Bp. Artemios over the years did everything to stop the ecumenism, and as already mentioned he was in the church from the young age, and a spiritual child of St. Justin Popovich. He asked for withdrawal from World council of churches and he knew from the beginning which bishops are heretics, but in the country with several wars over the years and people who just woke up in 90’s from communism, we could not expect more. He was in Kosovo in the most difficult time suffering together with his own people, everyone forgets that. What is his opinion of the old calendar church someone should ask so called cyprianists because he used be in contact with them, or simply send one of the bishops to ask him. STOC should know that it is not alright to slander someone who spiritually woke up almost whole nation. From the 40’s to 90’s the churches were empty,you could see two grannies in the church, if you are lucky. It was in the 90’s when people filled the churches and those were people without any knowledge of orthodox faith. No wonder the situation is the way it is. Regarding bp.Akakios belief that Serbian Church is heretical for decades, if he really thinks that, then why did he allow the priest to talk with bp. Artemios? Also everyone forgets, that Serbian Church was always in communion with Russian Church Abroad, and Russian Church Abroad was in communion with Greek Old Calendar Church. If you look through the history of XX century, you will see that neither of the churches are crystal clear. The Greeks were blessed, not to have the communism, otherwise the situation would be different. Lord knows how many clergy is killed in communism in Serbia. Bp. Artemios clergy are spiritually strong, people are separating from the official church, and the Church there will rise once again. Glory to God!

  • Diakrisis Dogmaton

    Dear Highlander, Hristos voskrese! Why do you assert that Bishop Artemije “separated” from the Serbian Patriarchate due to the heresy of ecumenism? The sources I have seen indicate that Bishop Artemije threatened to break communion around 2006, but decided not to follow through with the threat. Then, when he was prefectly willing to remain in communion with the ecumenists, they suspended him. When he continued to liturgize as a ruling bishop, the patriarchate “defrocked” him. At no point did he separate from the ecumenists, rather, they suspended and then defrocked him, according to these sources. Again: Why do you claim that Bishop Artemije separated for reasons of faith? Do you have any evidence for that claim?

    • highlander

      I agree some of his moves are not clear, but we have to know all the circumstances to get the whole picture.
      Bishop Artemios was fighting for years. In ’95 he asked Serbian Patriarchate to withdraw from WCC, which they did accept in ’97, the next year the Patriarchate decided to abandon this resolution. That is about the time when another war started in Kosovo where he was residing. ’99 NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days with depleted uranium bombs, the operation was called “Merciful Angel”, and it was not stopped even on Orthodox Easter. Another terrible violent event occurred in March 2004. Total churches and monasteries destroyed: 150, almost complete orthodox history. Bishop Artemios was dealing with ecumenism on one side and all these struggles on the other side. There is one book written with his blessing on ecumenism and there is another book which he wrote himself recently in which is revealed what other heresies are taught is theological university in Belgrade.

      If you read my other posts, you will find out that Serbian churches were empty due to communism and persecution of orthodoxy. In 1990. the war started, communism fell, and many people turned to the faith…

      Serbian Church Against Ecumenism by Bishop Artemije

      http://www.pastirdobri.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=534:2010-05-31-10-51-02&catid=5:2003-01-06-19-48-57&Itemid=22
      On this site you will find (if you have the nerves to read it on google translate) his complete struggle against ecumenism.

      After violence in March 2004. NATO countries tried to force Bishop Artemios to accept the deal with those who destroyed all these monasteries and churches and allow them to rebuilt what is destroyed. He refused. All this time he was, unfortunately, trying to fight from within and educate people on ecumenism. In 2010. as you stated Synod suspended (because his resistance to NATO puppets and because of resistance to ecumenism) Bishop Artemije, forced him to leave Kosovo and sent him the monastery Sisatovac. Soon after that he refused to follow Synod’s orders, they got angry, returned him to the rank of a monk, again he refused. In the mean time his spiritual children, majority of monks, nuns, clergy, separated from the official church and followed him. They started building their own churches and monasteries. At first there was an impression that they will come back to Patriarchate, but after Patriarch Irineos went to synagogue and lit the candle there on Hanukkah in 2010. that was the point where it was officially The End with the Serbian Patriarchate. After that another whole monastery joined Bishop Artemios, because of ecumenism and Patriarch’s act.The whole history and explanations why and how Bishop Artemios is not in the Serbian Church anymore:
      http://www.eparhija-prizren.org/component/content/article/1348-arh-maxim-bogoslovsko-obrazlozenje.html

      Bishop Akakios, on the other hand had an easier path, he was the novice in 1990’s in the monastery where his Bishop was ecumenist, he left, went to Greece, found true orthodoxy, and returned back as a monk, he became hieromonk, and so on… He was not dealing what was Bishop Artemios was dealing with for years. I too, had the same opinion like you, but over the years I realized, he was not in a good position at all and I understand he was trying to save what can be saved and stay with the people in the most difficult time in the history. More of these struggles are coming.
      I have to mention that in some dioceses the Liturgy is changed and the interior is changed. Some of the churches look like they are catholic churches. There are other things that changed as well. Enough is written. Read their sites, everything is in there, there are no lies. Even if they did do or said anything that we can consider wrong is there, but I can see that their position over the years became clear, especially after Patriarch lit the candle in Synagogue in 2010. Yes, others left ecumenism before him, but better leave at some point then never. The second link is their current situation, after 2010.

  • Richardson McPhillips

    May 13/26 has not yet happened….

    • HmkEnoch

      Thanks, Richardson. My mistake!

  • highlander

    Today, on May 29, 2015. bishop Artemios and bishop Nikolai are excommunicated and anathematized by the official Serbian Orthodox Church. The reason is: two days ago on May 27th the official church gave the three day ultimatum to bp. Artemios to come back to the official church. Bp. Artemios refused their offer.

    bp. Artemios answer to SOC:
    http://www.eparhija-prizren.org/component/content/article/1362-odgovor-patrijarhu.html

    SOC announcement:
    http://www.spc.rs/

  • highlander