Well, this was a sort of surprise.
The remaining HOCNA hierarchs issued a document today, cementing their position. Unfortunately, having seen the effects of the name-worshippers in ROAC, this looks eerily similar….
We are reproducing the statement from the “OnImyaslavie” Blog in full: Something smelled off about this document when they wrote “We do not believe… God’s Name is His Essence”. Orthodox Christians do not believe God’s Name is His Energies either.
We are not “name-worshippers”; therefore, we reject the false teachings ascribed to them. (See note 4)
We do not believe that:
1. God’s Name is His essence; (See note 5)
2. God’s Name is to be separated from Him;
3. God’s Name is another deity;
4. The letters, sounds and random/accidental thoughts about God are to be deified, or used for magical purposes. (See note 6)
We espouse and embrace the February, 1921 Encyclical of the Holy Confessor Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, as a resolution of the so-called name-worshipping controversy. (See note 7) This is our Confession of the Holy Orthodox Christian faith, so help us God.
+ Ephraim, Metropolitan of Boston
+ Makarios, Metropolitan of Toronto
+ Gregory, Auxiliary Bishop of Concord
Protocol # 2917
1 In fact, the Russian Synod of 1913 was not a Synod or a Council at all in the true sense, but more like a department of religious affairs of the Russian govemment. (See note 1)
The natural energy of God’s essence does not differ from God’s essence and is not separate from it. They are not two separate things for God’s natural energy is simple as is His essence. St Gregory Palamas repeated this Patristic truth against the Barlaamites, when he declared, that it was a God-befitting distinction, which in no way violated the divine simplicity. God is not diminished, but he is everywhere present in all his essence, wherever his energy is differentiated and measured out according to His will; He is present in His grace in the measure he determines for every creature. The Nameworshippers call those who do not believe in their new teaching, Barlaamites. However, it is their “dogma” that resembles the Barlaam heresy; for they, like Barlaam, declare that the grace of God is created, since they declare a created name is God Himself.
Recently, a heresy called “name-worshipping” has reared its head. This heresy is so called because its adherents believe that the name of God is God Himself; that is, that His name is a divine energy and hence uncreated. This ridiculous idea was condemned by the Synod of Constantinople in 1913 and again by the Russian Synod the same year. These Synods declared heretical the idea that the name of God is an energy of God or God Himself. This is the central point of the heresy, from which all of their other deviant beliefs follow. The Russian Synod, however, added a few comments of its own on the subject of the divine energies and the divinity, which used a slightly different terminology than the manner of expression used by St. Gregory Palamas (the expositor par excellence on the subject of the divine energies.) The Synod’s terminology was not so much heretical as not as clear and precise as St. Gregory’s exposition; and this was evidently the result of the Russian bishops’ lack of familiarity with the polemical writings of the saint, which had mostly not been translated into Russian at the time. The modern name-worshippers have seized upon this imprecision of terminology and have made it their banner; or rather, their smokescreen, declaring that they cannot accept the Russian council because it opposes the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas. In so doing, they have missed the main point, which is that even if the Russian Synod expressed itself poorly, name-worshipping is still a heresy. The Russian condemnation of name-worshipping is still valid in and of itself, even if the terminology it used in its further explanation of the subject is questionable. Moreover, the heresy was also condemned by the Synod of Constantinople, which used no dubious terminology. Yet the name-worshippers also refuse to recognize this council. Hence, it is clear that their motivation in attacking the language of the Russian Synod is not pious concern over expression, but rather because they simply do not accept the Orthodox teaching on the name of God.
Note 3. The HOCNA hierarchs write, “we will not have any relations with hierarchs or church affiliations that consciously and deliberately accept the false teachings of the same Russian Synod of 1913….”
Decoded: They will not have any relations with the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece. This is the Church whose hierarchs have spoken out against the name-worshipping heresy, and to which former HOCNA bishops, clergy and laity continue to flee. Not only did the entire Metropolis of Portland and the West and the vast majority of the Metropolis of Toronto seek refuge in the GOC in 2011, but now Bishop Demetrius of Carlisle, along with clergy and laity from the Metropolis of Boston, are appealing to be received by the Holy Synod of the GOC at its meeting in Greece this week.
Note 4. The HOCNA hierarchs write, “We are not ‘name-worshippers’; therefore, we reject the false teachings ascribed to them.”
If that is true, why this long and carefully worded statement?
They could simply write, “We join with the rest of the Orthodox Church in condemning the heresy of name-worshipping.”
But they did not.
Note 5. The HOCNA hierarchs write that they do not believe that God’s Name is His essence.
Name-worshippers do not believe this either, according to Tatiana Senina, a prominent defender of name-worshipping and disciple of “Bishop” Gregory Lourie. In defining what name-glorifiers (as name-worshippers prefer to be called) believe, she is quoted as saying:
He (Hieromonk Anthony Bulatovich) founded his teaching on the Divinity of the Names of God above all on the basis that the Divine Name is, according to the Holy Fathers; His energy or operation, and that God’s energy is God Himself.
Name-worshippers contend that God’s Name is His energy, but not His unapproachable essence.
Note 6. The HOCNA hierarchs write that they do not believe “[t]he letters, sounds and random/accidental thoughts about God are to be deified, or used for magical purposes….”
Again, according to Senina as quoted, neither do name-worshippers:
Indeed, if we were considering a teaching that equated created letters or sounds with God, which it would be enough for anyone to write or pronounce in order to achieve the desired miracle, then such a teaching could be called ‘name-worshipping’ and compared with magic and shamanism….
But what did Patriarch Tikhon really say? In addition to these four particular points (repeated by the HOCNA hierarchs in their statement above), he wrote that the synod was extending economia to the repentant name-worshipping monks, condescending to their spiritual mood and disposition. But even in this economia, they were required to testify to:
their exact following of the Orthodox Church, and of their obedience to the God-established hierarchy, believing according to the teaching of the Holy Church, adding nothing and subtracting nothing on their own…Further, Patriarch Tikhon wrote that while it was manifesting condescension to the repentant monks (extending economia to them in helping them return to Orthodoxy), the Holy Synod did not change its judgment on the heresy of name-worshipping itself. The Holy Synod condemned name-worshipping as a heresy in 1913. That judgment was never modified or overturned by the Holy Pan-Russian Local Council. It stands to this day.
Indeed, the entire Church has condemned the Name-worshippers, either by wordsof agreement, or by acquiescing to the formal decrees of the condemnation by thePatriarchates.
When the Church condemns something, it is binding.