Another Distorted HOCNA Text

Metr_original
Metropolitan Christopher of Mesogaia Leaves Lamian Synod over HOCNA Heresy
October 30, 2013
New Archbishop of Athens of the TOC of Greece (Matthewites)
November 23, 2013

Another Distorted HOCNA Text

An astute reader has sent us another distorted HOCNA text, with the Greek original as well as the previous HOCNA translation. While an innocent enough looking text on the surface, this appears to be part of a policy of conforming HOCNA texts to their new name-worshiping heresy.

Click on the link below to see a .pdf of the file.

Manipulated Text – Sept 20

  • frsteven

    Shameless.

  • GeorgeT49

    This should make everyone suspicious about the rest of the texts coming from HOCNA (HTM). This has made me more careful while I am at the chanting stand (and before the Services), so that I do not make a mistake and expouse this heresy…unbeknownst to us as I are chanting and worshipping our Savior.

    I am going through the whole Menaion, seeking other distorted and manipulated texts. Everyone should do this.

  • OrthodoxyIsTruth

    Shameless and deceiving. This is a horrible sin to manipulate original Greek text to say something else and spew their heretical beliefs on name-worshipping. I read the Greek and their 1986 translation is spot on. 2005! what happened? This now the 2nd occurrence so far and who knows how many more we will find. This should raise a lot of suspicion amongst HOCNA laity, and anyone who posts here that is for metering purposes can go fly a kite, I will not buy that lame excuse! this has been done on purpose to push name-worshipping, plain and simple fact! Dropi! Now we have to be careful when we read and chant from the Menaion to not expouse name-worshipping indirectly.

  • Thomas Deretich

    The person who was given the task of checking the English
    translation of the Menaion against the original Greek (especially for
    theological accuracy) was none other than Father Haralampos. (Others had previously
    made revisions to improve meter.) No one who was involved was thinking about
    debates over name-glorification. The approval process was finished in 2003 and
    the Menaion published in 2005. The controversy began at the end of 2010. Father
    Haralampos became a staunch opponent of name-glorification and he has now transferred
    his allegiance to Holy Ascension Monastery in Bearsville (of HOTCA under
    Metropolitan Pavlos). Elementary facts in this case do not support conspiracy
    theories.
    The New Testament itself
    equates Christian baptism, with baptism in the name of Jesus, with baptism in
    the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the text is
    theologically accurate — as is the New Testament when it alternates between the
    three phrases above. On the issue of theological accuracy, we can all agree with your clergyman, Father Haralampos, who approved the translation.
    How do ye all interpret
    this widely-known prayer from the Greek Menaion? Ἵνα
    καὶ διὰ στοιχείων, καὶ διὰ Ἀγγέλων, καὶ διὰ ἀνθρώπων, καὶ διὰ ὁρωμένων, καὶ διὰ ἀοράτων, δοξάζηταί σου τὸ πανάγιον ὄνομα, σὺν τῷ Πατρί, καὶ τῷ Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι, νῦν, καὶ ἀεί, καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.

    • A.B

      It is interesting to see how you pick and choose when to respond. I am still waiting for you to respond to GeorgeT49 in the last post where he clearly shows the misuse of quotes from the Holy Fathers by your Bishops. As for your quote above, it states that we glorify your holy name. Who is being glorified here? Our Saviour himself, not the actual name. No one ever suggested that the name of God is not holy. It represents God in the same way that icons do. Saints are also holy, as are their relics and the Mother of God, BUT none of the above ARE God himself. This is where your Bishop Gregory is confusing you all. The name of God IS in hymns and services and that cannot be denied. No one ever suggested otherwise. We all believe that the name of God is holy (because it represents God), BUT your B. Gregory, Lourie and Bulatovich believe that the actual physical name IS God himself. We say the Jesus prayer, and it is a powerful prayer because we are praying directly to our Saviour. When I venerate icons at Church, I do so thinking of my Saviour, not the paint and wood. Bulatovich’s teaching is condemned because it is Unorthodox and thus heretical. What are you not seeing.

      • A.B

        Just to add quickly, the dilemma here on NFTU is the addition of the word “Name” where it isn’t suggested in the Greek (especially when your original translation is more accurate), not like your quote above where the name is actually present in the text.

    • OrthodoxyIsTruth

      I have to agree with A.B with you picking and choosing when to respond or not. Typical of all heretics when confronted with Holy Fathers writings and true facts and you are proved wrong and at the same time shown that you are misusing quotes from the Holy Fathers as GeorgeT49 did in his last response which completely destroys the namewhorshipping heresy. Why don’t you respond back to GeorgeT49’s response he sent you? why even bother to post here when you don’t even have to courage to respond back to GeorgeT49, or is it because his response is so spot on you have nothing to say? I demand a response back or else keep your heretical and nonsense to yourself.

      Also I might add that you are using tactics typical of heretics, putting the blame on others where your own leaders are to blame for all of this. No one who possesses a sound mind and logic, (which God implanted in human beings), would believe your lies that Fr. Haralampos ok’d these ‘mistranslations’ like HTM wants everyone to believe, because everyone knows that Fr. Haralampos left HTM after living there for 50 years, because of this stupid and universally condemned heresy. It is HTM-HOCNA i.e. their leaders,(who are heretics themselves), who are accountable for all these ‘theological manipulatons’ that are coming to light of late in HTM’s translations. Surely, more ‘text manipulations’ will come to me to light in the near future, to the detriment of HTM and HOCNA and to the confirmation of their erroneous and heretical beliefs; may our Saviour bring all those poor, simple and pious souls who have been hypnotized by Gregory Babunashvilli in believing in a condemned, foolish and blasphemous heresy.

      P. S. instead of putting up smokescreens, as is typical for heretics do, please answer Mr. GeorgeT49’s second answer to your second response to him that you wrote on NFTU; you are not fooling anyone with your non-sense.

      • Dcn Joseph Suaiden

        Part of the reason I limited T.D’s responses (which I have not done for weeks) is because he tends not to respond but to simply “preach” as he wishes without answering the question, more typical of a salesperson looking for a new “lead” than someone with a serious apologetic. No takers here? Well then, post again in the hopes a new, innocent person shall fall for the pitch.

        If T.D. refuses to answer direct questions, his engagement here will be carefully moderated.

      • A.B

        Here is a website I discovered last week, which I believe is authored by the monks who left HOCNA. It is a window into what was taking place prior to their inevitable departure. There are two sides to every story.

        http://forthosewhohaveearstohear.blogspot.ca/?m=1

        • A.B

          I apologize for the link I posted above. I made false assumptions about who authored it. I still believe it has relevant content.

          • No worries. It is a useful link, I guess. I am not a fan of the whole “NOW JOIN THE GOC-KALLINIKOS, FOR IT IS THE CHURCH” at the the end of virtually every letter, but many relevant points are made. I feel terrible for Fr Basil, trapped as he is now among the heretics.

  • Boston

    There actually is textual basis for translating “in His name” here.

    The hymn is addressed to St. Efstathius and narrates to him about his conversion. The phrase in question is kai tw Baptismati autou* apokatharas tas hamartias sou, “and by His Baptism, having washed away your sins”. The Baptism is clearly of St. Efstathius, so why would it say by His Baptism and not by your Baptism? Because the word Autou = His is using the subjective genitive to show that it is “in His domain”. How do you translate that? A perfectly acceptable way would be “in His name”, i.e. in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is a standard formula of Baptism.

    To say “by His baptism” is to confuse the listener, who might assume that the his refers, against grammar, to Efstathius, or erroneously to Christ’s own baptism, and would be left without knowing the true meaning.

    Interpretations such as this take place in every translation you will read, whether of Sophocles, Plato, or the writers of the Church. The fact is that Church Greek has different phrases and idioms than we do in English. The 2005 Menaion is very good with these, and was written by very learned men, the head of whom, as Thomas points out, indeed has left the HTM.

    *The Greek Menaion copy has what I believe is a typo in the breathing mark on autou, making it hautou = ho autou. This wouldn’t make sense. See this online Menaion with the correct text: http://analogion.gr/glt/texts/Sep/20.uni.htm

  • Thomas Deretich

    GeorgeT49 claims, “There is no identification of ‘name’ and ‘power and glory’ [in Saint Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on the Gospel of Saint John], except in Mr. Deretich’s mind.”

    Saint Cyril of Alexandria teaches, “He [Christ] briefly besought His Father to protect the disciples in the name which had been given to Himself [John 17:11]. In this [other passage (John 17:17)], however, He desires His prayer on their behalf to be fulfilled in the truth of the Father. What, then, does this mean; or what does the change in the language signify? Is it meant to show that the energy [enérgeian] of the Father, shown through Him in mercy to the Saints, is not uniform? For in the first passage, when He says that His disciples ought to be protected in the name of the Father, that is to say, in the glory and power of Godhead, so that they should be out of the power of the enemy, He declares that aid is vouchsafed to the Saints in whatever happens to them.”

    Did you catch that?

    “He says that His disciples ought to be protected in the name of the Father, that is to say, in the glory and power of Godhead” («ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ Πατρὸς χρῆναι λέγων τηρεῖσθαι τοὺς μαθητὰς, οἱονεὶ τὸ ἐν δόξῃ καὶ δυνάμει θεότητος»; Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Ἐξήγησις εἰς τὸ κατὰ Ἰωάννην Εὐαγγέλιον, bk. 11, ch. 9, in P.E. Pusey, ed., Sancti patris nostri Cyrilli archiepiscopi Alexandrini: In D. Joannis evangelium: accedunt fragmenta varia necnon tractatus ad Tiberium diaconum duo [Oxford: Typographeo Clarendοniano, 1872], vol. 2, pp. 714–715, http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.fig:002921833.)

    Did you also catch that Saint Cyril equates both “protect[ing] them in Your name” (John 17:11) and “Sanctify[ing] them in the truth” (John 17:17) with the “energy of the Father” [Πατρὸς ἐνέργειαν] which is “not uniform”? God protecting the disciples by the name of God, as well as God sanctifying the disciples by the truth, are both the “activity/energy” of the Father and the Son together.

    Saint Cyril (Ἰωάννην, bk. 11, ch. 9, Pusey 2:696): “He says, then: ‘Holy Father, protect them in Your name which You have given Me; that they may be one, even as We are.’ He desires His disciples to be protected by the power [dynámei] and authority [exousíą] of the ineffable divine nature.”

    Saint Cyril (Ἰωάννην, bk. 11, ch. 9, Pusey 2:699): “Our Savior Himself said, in the foregoing passage: ‘Holy Father, protect them in Your name which You have given Me’; and here again: ‘While I was with them, I protected them in Your name which You have given Me’; almost pointing out this fact to His disciples: that the ability to save them suited rather the energy [energeíą] of the Godhead [Theótētos] than His presence in the flesh: [….] We must not then attribute the whole of the divine energy [energeías] of Christ to the flesh by itself, but we shall be rather right if we ascribe them to the divine power of the Word. For does not ‘protecting the disciples in the name of the Father’ mean this, and nothing else? For they are protected by the glory of God.”

    There, once again, you have the equivalence. “Protecting the disciples in the name of the Father” is equivalent to “protected by the glory of God.” In the Greek original, «ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Πατρὸς τηρεῖσθαι τοὺς μαθητὰς» is equivalent to «Θεοῦ γὰρ δόξῃ τε τήρηνται.» This is the ”divine power of the Word” and the “divine energy of Christ.”

    Saint Cyril writes over and over again that God protecting in God’s name means God protecting by God’s glory and authority and power. And all of this (glory/power/name) is the “energy/activity/working” of God. Conclusion: Christ Himself in the Gospel of Saint John uses “name” of God to mean “energy” of God.

    None of this means that created names are the energy of God. Rather, it means that in Christian language, “name of God” can mean both “uncreated energy” and “created symbol.” This teaching is exactly what HOCNA has been saying when it says that there is both an “inner” meaning to “name of God” (uncreated grace) and an “outer” meaning (created, material word). This teaching is patristic, scriptural, and dominical.

    P.S.: Next on the agenda will be my reponse concerning the authentic writing of Saint Clement of Rome.

    • NFTU

      I appreciate, Thomas, that you are at least addressing the words those who are addressing you are using.

      This allows us to address directly the position you are promoting: that the Name of God is an energy of God. And once again we come up short, because what we’re lacking– and what every Orthodox teaching has– is a definition proper. When St John of Damascus says “the Father alone is Cause”, he means that. Yet all of your quotes still fall between the parameters of linguistic construction whether an Orthodox or name-worshipper says it. You cede as much when you write the following: “None of this means that created names are the energy of God. Rather, it means that in Christian language, “name of God” can mean both “uncreated energy” and “created symbol.””

      The problem is that even if we agreed to this point, there is no Patristic, scriptural, and dominical reason to accept that the Name of God is an energy of God, which is still the teaching of your leaders, because in the language of St Cyril *there is still no reason to do so*. There are many revealed aspects of Our Lord and they can describe His energy, but they are *not* His energy. And whether you realize it or not, you have ceded the point in your final sentence–

      *Rather, it means that in Christian language, “name of God” can mean both “uncreated energy” and “created symbol.”*

      I believe what you meant is the “name of God” can mean both “His uncreated energy” and “His created symbol”. It can also mean His essence, His identification in Judea, His identification in the sacred liturgy.

      A name is an identification and it has no power at all on its own. It commands respect due to the bearer. It is not a power of God, but can be used to describe a power of God. It describes things. It describes His energy. But you know very well this is *not* what the Name-worshippers teach. And you know very well this is *not* what St Tikhon, Abp Anthony, and everyone else was fighting, because this was not what the Name-worshippers wrote.

      For this reason, saying “God’s Name describes His energy” (in truth God’s Name describes God) is not totally honest in HOCNA or Lourie’s cases. Because they are not saying what you are.

      If you believe the above, ask your leaders if they believe God’s Name is anything more than a clear identification of the energies of God and watch the response. Their writings have already proven what they believe.

  • John Collis
    • Makis

      I thought “IHS” was short for “In hoc signo”?

      • Dcn Joseph Suaiden

        No; particularly in the West from fairly early on, “IHS” was used in place of “IC”.

  • Timothy Vargas

    Not sure what is shameless, that HOCNA is once again falsly accused, or the clergy responsible for said text are with your Synod.

    • NFTU

      Not touching which translator’s where (I haven’t a clue) but if HOCNA’s falsely accused they do a terrible job of demonstrating it. Everyone claims they are teaching God’s Name is Divinized and they’re following the teachings of Bulatovich, et al.So they say God’s Name’s His Energy and that all the people who condemned Bulatovich are heretics or uneducated.

      No, I’m not in HOCNA, so of course I can’t be an expert, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t fall under “false accusation”.

    • OrthodoxyIsTruth

      May I ask you, who is it that you accuse of being responsible for the translations? Can you give us a name? we all know everyone in HOCNA is blaming Father Haralampos for this who is now with GOC. What a dirty shame on the part of HOCNA and their heretical leaders to do this and put up another smokescreen and put the blame on someone else. This is what HOCNA does all the time, blame others instead of themselves. Get your facts straight!

      I will quote my self above again, in case you didn’t read it.

      “No one who possesses a sound mind and logic, (which God implanted in
      human beings), would believe your lies that Fr. Haralampos ok’d these
      ‘mistranslations’ like HTM wants everyone to believe, because everyone
      knows that Fr. Haralampos left HTM after living there for 50 years,
      because of this stupid and universally condemned heresy. It is
      HTM-HOCNA i.e. their leaders,(who are heretics themselves), who are
      accountable for all these ‘theological manipulatons’ that are coming to
      light of late in HTM’s translations”

  • Thomas Deretich

    One among many problems with the anonymous GeorgeT49’s latest posting on the name of God is his succumbing to extremist, one-sided apophatic (negative) theology and his opposition to Orthodox cataphatic (positive) theology. At its extreme, this post-modern, extremist, one-sided apophatic theology claims that human beings cannot know God and cannot name God: the names that we give God, like Savior, Truth, Love, etc., are merely human fabrications or constructs; they are not God-given. It is no secret from where GeorgeT49 and his colleagues get this. They get this from a one-sided reading of Father John Romanides and from quotations taken out of context from Saint Gregory the Theologian and Saint Dionysius the Areopagite. We need to look seriously at the relationship between a one-sided reading of Romanides and the temptation of ecumenism—into which Romanides did fall and from which Romanides never extricated himself. We should avoid the ecumenist error of one-sided apophatic theology.

    DANGERS OF TRAVELING (TOO FAR) WITH ROMANIDES
    by Thomas S. Deretich

    Some personal observations on the relevance (or non-relevance) of Father John Romanides for controversies over apophatic and cataphatic theology, created words, and human beings’ knowledge of divine revelation.

    Father John Romanides is not an Orthodox “authority.” He is certainly not an Orthodox authority on apophatic theology, or on divine revelation, or on the name of God. He was a man with scholarly ability. When he accurately summarized the teachings of the Orthodox saints, he could be a very good instructor, both orally and in his writings. He has had good influence on many people in many ways. But when he summarized the teachings of the saints in a one-sided manner, he fell into delusion. When he directly opposed the teaching of the Church, he became a defender of heresy.

    I only met Father John Romanides one time, but it was a one-on-one theological conversation in great detail. He clearly went against the teaching of the Orthodox Church. His exact words were “Severus was Orthodox.” He was referring to the Severus who was the Patriarch of Antioch and a fanatical opponent of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, held at Chalcedon in 451. Severus became the intellectual leader of the Monophysite heresy in its opposition to the Orthodox Church. The Synodicon of Orthodoxy calls Severus “Godless” and anathematizes him along with the other advocates of the Monophysite and Monothelite heresies. But Father John Romanides defied this teaching of the Orthodox Church and sided with the Monophysites on the “Orthodoxy” of Severus. “Severus was Orthodox,” Father John defiantly asserted. Father John also took the Monophysite position—and opposed the Orthodox position—on Theodoret of Cyrrhus. Although some of Theodoret’s writings (early writings against Saint Cyril of Alexandria) were condemned by the Orthodox Church, the Church has never proclaimed the Monophysite view that Theodoret was a “pure Nestorian.” Theodoret is called “Blessed,” by many Orthodox. At a minimum, the Orthodox Church does not consider Theodoret to be a pure Nestorian, as the Monophysites consider him. But Father John adopted part of the Monophysite view on Severus and Theodoret. Father John took a position that is directly opposite to that taken by the later Ecumenical Councils, the Synodicon of Orthodoxy, and the mind of the Orthodox Church. Father John Romanides’s un-Orthodox deception on this point may have been partly a result of his deep involvement with ecumenical dialogue with the Monophysites, where he caved in, in part, to the “moderate” Monophysite positions. His ecumenical work in this area attained significant results when the New Calendar (“Greek Orthodox”) Patriarchate of Antioch entered into communion with the Monophysite Jacobite (“Syriac Orthodox”) patriarchate of Antioch. Father John Romanides’s defiance and betrayal of Orthodox doctrine helped grease the wheels for the fall of Antioch from Orthodoxy into a relativist pro-Monophysitism. (Father John did write insightfully in pointing out that Theodore of Mopsuestia was similar to Nestorius in their mutual errors.)

    In his teachings on apophaticism, divine revelation, and created words, Father John has another tendency, seemingly almost the opposite, seemingly almost Nestorian. Father John emphasized apophatic theology so much and so one-sidedly—and he downplayed cataphatic theology so much—that he found himself in dangerous ground, in which he seemed to be downplaying the divine revelation that is conveyed in the Holy Scriptures and the dogmas of the Church.

    A bigger problem is that individuals can take ideas and quotations from Father John about God being “unknowable” and push them to an extreme that Father John, with his greater patristic leaning than many of his followers, did not intend. I long wondered how Christos Yannaras, with his ecumenist and relativist tendencies, could put Father John Romanides (a patristic scholar) in the same category as Nikos Nissiotis, who was an ultra-ecumenist with very strong relativist tendencies. The answer is that both Romanides and Nissiotis emphasized apophatic (negative) theology so much that they paved the way for more explicit forms of relativism, ecumenism, postmodernism, and agnosticism on the dogmas of the Church that are based on divine revelation. Romanides helped contribute somewhat to the idea—prevalent among some modern Greek theologians, even some considered “traditional”—that dogmas are a “necessary evil.” If we call the divine dogmas of the faith “evil,” then ecumenism—whether new calendar ecumenism or “old calendar ecumenism” seems natural. If dogma is evil, if dogmas are mere words, then doctrinal relativism seems good, to some of these people.

    When Romanides had his famous debates with Panagiotes Trempelas in 1957, Romanides opposed the Augustinianism and rationalism of Trempelas. Trempelas opposed what he considered to be a one-sided emphasis on apophaticism (even anti-rationalism) that could lead to agnosticism. Both of these distinguished scholars were correct in their criticisms of the other. Trempelas and colleagues were overly influenced by rationalism and Augustinianism. But Romanides and especially some of his more extreme followers were paving the way for a disregard for the divine dogmas of the faith that have been formulated by the Church in human language. Romanides directly opposed the mind of the Church on who is Orthodox, who is Monophysite, and who is Nestorian. His extremist followers in Greece directly oppose Orthodox teaching on many issues, especially those relating to ecclesiology and ecumenism.

    I do not know of any Orthodox Christians who are denying that God is above created names and concepts. God is above our words and our understandings. But the saints of the Church taught a balance of negative and positive theology, negation and affirmation, apophatic and cataphatic. God in unknown, but He is known by the faithful, who can become “communicants of the divine nature.” God is invisible, but He is visible in His uncreated glory and in the human nature of the God-Man. God is beyond names, but He is named by many names. God is above creation, but He fills all of creation. The holy (created) things of God are not God Himself, but God dwells in holy (created) things.

    If a person were to emphasize—in a one-sided or extreme way—only God’s transcendence, God’s mystery, and our lack of knowledge about God, then that person is in danger of discounting God’s revelation to us creatures, His presence, and His “dwelling in” holy persons, holy things, and holy words.

    This is what Saint John of Damascus says about negative and affirmative theology:

    “These, then, are the affirmations and the negations [that is, the cataphatic and the apophatic], but the sweetest names are a combination of both: for example, the super-essential Essence, the Godhead that is more than God [that is, God is above our knowledge about Him], the Beginning that is above beginning, and such like.”

    In the Orthodox Saints there is a balance, but in the modernist and postmodernist advocates of one-sided apophaticism, there is imbalance.

    Does God “dwell in” the created words of Holy Scripture? Some modern people have difficulty with this teaching of the Church. Their difficulty is certainly consistent with modern and postmodern views that deprecate the divine revelation within Holy Scripture.

    Here is what Saint Gregory Palamas writes in his Confession of the Orthodox Faith, which was endorsed by the Council of Constantinople of 1351 (the “Ninth Ecumenical Council”) and which is attached to the dogmatic decree, the Synodal Tome, of this council:

    “we worship relatively [proskynoûmen schetikôs] the holy icon of the Son of God Who has been depicted as made man for our sake, offering up the worship relatively to the prototype; and the honored wood of the Cross, and all the symbols of His sufferings, as being divine trophies of victory over the common enemy of our race; and the saving figure of the honored Cross, the divine temples and places and the sacred vessels and the God-given oracles [words, sayings, Scriptures, theoparádota lógia], because of the God Who dwells [enoikoûnta] in them. In the same manner, we worship also the icons of all the saints, because of our love for them and the God Whom these [saints] truly loved and served, in this worship of the icons we carry our thoughts to the forms [the persons depicted] on the icons. We venerate also the very tombs of the saints, because the sanctifying grace [of God] did not depart from the most sacred bones [of the saints], just as death did not separate Godhood [theótēs] from the Master’s body during the three days’ death.” [Translated from Saint Gregory Palamas, Ὁμολογία τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου πίστεως [Confession of the Orthodox Faith], 4, in Karmires, Δογματικὰ καὶ Συμβολικὰ Μνημεία [1st ed.], 1:344, http://www.symbole.gr/chrtoms/dogma/1171-fides19; see also http://www.apostoliki-diakonia.gr/gr_main/catehism/theologia_zoi/themata.asp?cat=patr&contents=contents_Pat_Grigoriou_3.asp&main=kat021&file=grig_3.9.htm; see also the English translation in Pelikan and Hotchkiss, Creeds and Confessions of Faith 1:337.]

    «προσκυνοῦμεν σχετικῶς τὴν ἁγίαν εἰκόνα τοῦ περιγραφέντος, ὡς δι᾿ ἡμᾶς ἐνανθρωπήσαντος, υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, πρὸς τὸ πρωτότυπον ἀναφέροντες εὐσεβῶς τὴν προσκύνησιν, καὶ τὸ τίμιον τοῦ σταυροῦ ξύλον καὶ τὰ σύμβολα πάντα τῶν αὐτοῦ παθημάτων ὡς ὄντα τρόπαια θεῖα κατὰ τοῦ κοινοῦ πολεμίου τοῦ γένους ἡμῶν· πρὸς δὲ καὶ τὸν τύπον τοῦ τιμίου σταυροῦ ὡς ὅπλον σωτήριον, καὶ τοὺς θείους ναοὺς καὶ τόπους καὶ τὰ ἱερὰ σκεύη καὶ θεοπαράδοτa λόγια, διὰ τὸν αὐτοῖς ἐνοικοῦντα θεόν. ὡσαύτως προσκυνοῦμεν καὶ τὰς τῶν ἁγίων πάντων εἰκόνας, διὰ τὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἀγάπην καὶ τὸν θεὸν ὃν οὗτοι ἀληθῶς ἠγάπησάν τε καὶ ἐθεράπευσαν, ἐν τῇ προσκυνήσει πρὸς τὰς ἐκείνων μορφὰς ἀναφέροντες τὴν διάνοιαν. προσκυνοῦμεν καὶ αὐτὰς τὰς τῶν ἁγίων σορούς, ὡς τῆς ἁγιαστικῆς χάριτος τῶν αὐτῶν οὐκ ἀποπτάσης ἱερωτάτων ὀστῶν, ὥς περ οὐδὲ τοῦ δεσποτικοῦ σώματος ἐν τῷ τριημέρω ἡ θεότης διῃρέθη θανάτῳ.» [Ἅγιος Γρηγόριος ὁ Παλαμᾶς, Ὁμολογία τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Πίστεως 4· Καρμίρης, Δογματικὰ καὶ Συμβολικὰ Μνημεία (1η ἔκδ.), 1:344, http://www.symbole.gr/chrtoms/dogma/1171-fides19; see also http://www.apostoliki-diakonia.gr/gr_main/catehism/theologia_zoi/themata.asp?cat=patr&contents=contents_Pat_Grigoriou_3.asp&main=kat021&file=grig_3.9.htm).

    In contradiction to this Confession of the Orthodox Faith, some modern people seem to have difficulty accepting the Orthodox dogma that God “dwells in” holy persons, holy things, and holy words.

    Walking along the path of one-sided apophaticism, along with Father John Romanides, and even possibly surpassing him along that road, is not the balanced teaching of the Orthodox Church.

    ***

    Father Theodore Stylianopoulos, who was a student of Father John Romanides, and remained overly sympathetic to his views, nonetheless, wrote some appropriate cautions:

    “one must still take account of the biblical and patristic view that there are in Scripture clear and abiding teachings about God and his ways accessible to all. One does not necessarily have to adopt platonist metaphysics about immutable truth to affirm that the Bible, at the communication level of words and images, contains abiding insights, principles, and truths concerning such things as God and idols, grace and free will, love and hate, honesty and lying, forgiveness and retaliation, justice and exploitation, giving and selfishness, hope and despair.

    […]

    “One does not have to read very far in the theological and practical writings of the Church fathers, such as Basil and Chrysostom, to see the massive authority they attached to the letter and plain meaning of Scripture as secure instruction about God and his will for all. These fathers relied heavily on the clarity and stability of meaning resident in the biblical text they derived by grammatical exegesis and assumed that any reader could follow without esoteric techniques. To claim that ‘the Bible is not inspired’ as it stands is to fly into the face of the whole patristic tradition and undercut Scripture’s plain witness to God’s dealing with all people. To seem to claim that stable and secure meaning at the level of words and images cannot at all be gained by ordinary human understanding is to undercut at once human communication, scholarship, as well as the hope of meaningful dialogue and possible reconciliation between disputants, whether orthodox or heretical. We are not saying that the plain meaning of word and images available to all is everything but that it is an integral part of that same truth about God and of God, which all are invited to seek.” (Father Theodore G. Stylianopoulos, The New Testament: An Orthodox Perspective, vol. 1: Scripture, Tradition, and Hermeneutics, quoted at http://ishmaelite.blogspot.com/2010/06/romanides-sympathetic-but-critical.html)

  • Thomas Deretich

    THE BOUNDLESS NAME
    By
    Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston
    Bishop Gregory of Brookline
    and
    Thomas Deretich

    By the term “Name of God,” Orthodox Christians mean two things: 1) We mean the revealed Truth about God, and, 2) in another sense, we mean also the human, created words by which this revealed Truth is articulated. The eternal, revealed Truth about God exists and will always exist, whether we articulate it in our human language or not. This is what our Saviour intimates to us when in the Gospel of St. John, He tells the Jews:

    “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man that has told you the Truth, which I have heard from God.” (John 8:40)

    No one in his right mind would assert that the Truth which God the Son heard from God the Father was communicated in human words! The communication in the Holy Trinity is entirely ineffable. Yet it is this very Truth, the uncreated and ineffable Truth of God, that our Saviour, when He became man for us, revealed to us in human speech. This is also the very same divine Truth with which the Holy Spirit enlightened the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, in accordance with the promise of our Saviour:

    “When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak.” (John 16:13)

    Again, the Truth that the Holy Spirit shall speak and guide Christ’s disciples in, is an ineffable and divine Truth, which He received from the Son. Yet this is the same Truth that the Spirit showed to the Apostles and which they preached with human words in all the known world!

    These examples illustrate clearly the two aspects of God’s revelation and the distinction that lies between them: the uncreated and eternal Truth of God’s revelation, and created, human concepts and words with which this revelation is articulated in order to become accessible to the human mind. And this is the very same distinction that exists between the uncreated Name of God, that is, the eternal Truth about God, and the created names of God, that is, human words and concepts, which the Church has taught us to use in order to articulate the eternal Truth about God.

    It is exclusively in the former sense, that is, in the sense of the uncreated Truth about God, that we say that the Name of God is an Energy of God, because every revelation of God about Himself, every Truth about God, is His Energy. In the latter sense, that is, in terms of human speech, the names of God are both created and temporal, being part of this world, and they are certainly not an Energy of God.

    The prominent Russian professor and writer of books on Orthodox theology, Serge Verhovskoy, discusses these two aspects of the Name of God, in his book, God and Man:

    “A particular form of the revelation of God in a word is the revelation of God in the Divine Names. A Name of God, as a human word, is, of course, created. (It is, therefore, possible to use it senselessly or “in vain.” The identification of a Name of God, as a [created] word, with God Himself is a heresy which was condemned by the Russian Holy Synod in the twentieth century.) But God Himself can dwell and act in it.
    The Divine aspect of a Divine Name is, as it were, a Divine “self-definition” or a thought of God about Himself. The presence of a divine principle in the Divine Names follows from the whole attitude of the Old Testament toward Them. The Name of God is Holy, and God sanctifies Himself in His Name (Lev. 22:32). Men can offend the Name of God by their sins (Am. 2:7). God acts for the sake of His Name (Ez. 39:7, 25). The Name of God is one, great, and eternal, as is God Himself (Ps. 9:2, 134:13, Zach. 14:9). God acts through His Name (Ps. 53:1). If there were nothing Divine in the Name of God, how would it be possible for us to bless, praise, and love it, worship and serve it, rejoice in it and be persecuted for it’s sake? Finally it is striking that God reveals His Names (e.g. Ex. 3:13–14, 6:3). It follows that They express the genuine Divine reality.
    God is near to a man in His Names (Ps. 75:1). The presence of God is equivalent to the presence of the Name of God. The Name of God dwells in the whole earth and especially in the Holy Land, in Israel, in Jerusalem, in the temple and in individuals. The Jews loved to give their children names in which there was a Divine Name (Ishmael, John, Joachim, Jesus, etc.)
    There are about one hundred Divine Names in the Old Testament. Each of them has its own meaning. It is possible to include into Them the entire theology of the Old Testament. The Divine Name is “wonderful” (Jg. 13:17–18); it is “remembrance of God” (Ex. 3:15). God reveals His Name in order for men to know Him (Ex. 6:3, 33:19; Jer. 23:6).”1

    Further on, he writes:

    “He is revealed to us in the Divine Names, perfections and actions [i.e. Energies], which reveal something to us not only about the Creator and about Providence, but also about God Himself, … He manifests Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as Unity, Life, Essence, Goodness, Truth, Beauty, Holiness, Love, and as many other properties [i.e. Graces and Names] which really belong to Him, though it be a manner other than we are capable of imagining.”2

    The well-known Greek hierarch, Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, agrees and writes:

    “The Name of God is the Energy of God. It is known from our Orthodox theology that God has Essence and Energy. Even created things have essence and Energy; the sun, for example is a heavenly body and emits its light, and its fire is something that burns and emits Energy, that is, heat, and light. But God, since He is uncreated, is both uncreated Essence and uncreated Energy; with regard to His Essence, God is without name and beyond names, but with regard to His Energies, He has many Names.
    Whenever God revealed Himself to men, He revealed one of His Energies, like love, peace, righteousness, or love for mankind. In this way He has communion with men. For this reason also I say that the Names of God are His Energies. Whenever, indeed, anyone mentions the Name of God with compunction, humility, repentance, faith, etc., he receives knowledge and experience of the Energy of God.”3

    In His Essence, God is unknowable and cannot be understood or described by any creature. His Essence has no name, nor can any be applied to that ineffable Essence.

    But in His Energies, in His Power and Glory, in His Divine Grace and Revelation, God reveals Himself and is made known—to the extent that man is able to comprehend Him. Here is what Metropolitan Philaret of Chernigov, a prominent theologian of the Russian Church in the nineteenth century, says concerning the Name of God:

    “The Name of God is the being of God in that aspect in which it can become known.”4

    “What is said about God in proper sense, that is what God is; and what He is by His nature, that is what is said [about Him] in proper sense. The revealed names and characteristics of God are not a product of human thought, so that they [i.e. names and characteristics] should be likened to meaningless words.”5

    Some ancient heresies (e.g. the Eunomians)6 would not acknowledge the Divinity of Christ, but they did claim to know God’s Essence and therefore attributed man-made labels to that Essence. However, the Eunomians were resolutely condemned by the Holy Fathers and the Holy Councils of the Church.
    But, contrary to what some claim today, Eunomianism is not what our Saints, or the Church writers mentioned above, teach. Nobody—absolutely no one—knows God’s Essence, nor can anyone attribute a name to that Essence.

    Below, there follow several Scriptural and Patristic texts that confirm the Orthodox Christian teaching on the Name of God:
    The ancient Christian document, the Shepherd of Hermas (c. A.D. 150), says, “The Name of the Son of God is great and boundless, and upholds the entire universe.”7 Orthodox Christians believe that only the Grace of God—that is to say, only God Himself—is “boundless and upholds the entire universe.” So, it is clear that here, the Shepherd of Hermas equates the Grace of God with the boundless Name of the Son of God.

    St. Clement of Rome does the same, when he tells us: “It was through [Jesus Christ] that He called us ‘from darkness to light,’ from ignorance to the recognition of His glorious Name, to hope on Thy Name, which is the origin of all creation.”8 Again, Orthodox Christians believe that only the Grace of God—that is to say, only God Himself—is “the origin of all creation.” It is obvious, therefore, that here, St. Clement of Rome also identifies the “glorious Name” with the Grace of God.
    St. Cyril of Alexandria makes exactly the same identification when he instructs us: “[Christ] says that His disciples ought to be kept in the Name of the Father, that is to say, in the Glory and Power of His Godhead.”9
    Psalm 19:1 also identifies the Name of God with the Power of God:

    “The Lord hear thee in the day of affliction;
    The Name of the God of Jacob defend thee.”

    Psalm 101:15 tells us precisely the same thing:

    “And the heathen shall fear Thy Name, O Lord,
    And all the kings of the earth Thy Glory.”

    Here, again, we see this identity of “Name” and “Glory.”
    Psalm 71:17 says that His Name is “before the sun,” that is, before creation:

    “His Name shall be blessed unto the ages;
    Before the sun doth His Name continue.”

    The Synodicon of Orthodoxy identifies the Glory of God with God Himself, when it tells us that this Grace, or Energy, or Light, or Glory and Power, or Revelation, “emanates inseparably from God’s Essence,” though it is distinct from that Essence. That is to say, this Divine Energy, this “Glory and Power of His Godhead” is God Himself.10

    St. Gregory Palamas affirms: “Every Power or Energy [of God] is God Himself.”11 This “Power or Energy,” which is God Himself, is “boundless” and “before creation.”

    In The Guide, St. Anastasius of Sinai has the following discourse:

    “Question: Does the designation “God” refer to the Essence, or the Person, or the Energy, or a symbol, or a metaphor?

    “Answer: It is clear that [the designation] “God” refers to the Energy. It does not represent the very Essence of God; for it is impossible to know this, but it represents and reveals His Energy that is able to be contemplated.”12

    The largest Hesychastic Council, the Council of Constantinople of 1351, confirmed this teaching in its long dogmatic decree, called the Synodal Tome, when it affirmed that the Energy of God “is called ‘Godhead’ by the saints.”13 The Council also approvingly quoted St. Anastasius’ teaching that the name “God” applies to the Energy of God.14 St. Gregory Palamas signed the Tome of the Council of 1351, and this Council also endorsed his written Confession of the Orthodox Faith.
    In his writings, St. Gregory Palamas refers both to the uncreated Name of God (which is the Energy of God and thus God Himself) and to the created words (which are not an Energy of God) in which, however, God Himself dwells. In his Homily 53, on the Entry of the Mother of God into the Holy of Holies, St. Gregory Palamas states that the Holy of Holies was “the place assigned to God alone, which was consecrated as His dwelling, and out of which He gave audience to Moses, Aaron, and those of their successors who were equally worthy.”15 St. Gregory Palamas also states, one paragraph earlier in the same homily, that the Holy of Holies was “the dwelling-place, as David calls it, of the Holy Name” (Psalm 74:7).16 The uncreated Glory and Energy of God is called, by the Prophet David, the “Name” of God. The Holy of Holies was the dwelling place of the uncreated “Holy Name” which is the same as “God alone,” according to St. Gregory Palamas.17 In his Confession of the Orthodox Faith, St. Gregory Palamas also refers to God dwelling in created words of the Holy Scriptures as He dwells in the saints, the icons, and the Cross: “we venerate the salutary form of the honorable cross, the glorious temples and places and the God-given Scriptures because of the God who dwells in them.”18 Thus, according to St. Gregory Palamas, God dwells in holy (created) words, but God’s (uncreated) “Name” (Psalm 73:7) is “God alone.”19

    St. John of Kronstadt agrees with the foregoing Scriptural and Patristic texts: “His Name is [God] Himself” and “The Name of God is God Himself.”20

    God’s Name, therefore, must properly be understood in two senses: 1) in its Divine and eternal sense, when it is an Energy of God; and 2) in its human and created sense, when it is certainly not an Energy of God.

    In conclusion, therefore, we see that, from many sources, old and new, the voice of the Church rings clear on this issue.

    To be continued

    1 Serge Vehovskoy, God and Man [in Russian] (1956), pp. 95–96.
    2 Verhovskoy, p. 352.
    3 Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” http://www.thewonderfulname.info/2013/12/hallowed-be-thy-name.html, translated from Hierotheos Vlachos, “Αγιασθήτω το όνομά σου,” Εκκλησιαστική Παρέμβαση, June 10, 2005, http://www.parembasis.gr/2005/05_06_13.htm.
    4 Archbishop Philaret (Gumilevsky), Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [in Russian], (1882), part 2, p. 201.
    5 Archbishop Philaret, part 1, p. 27
    6The Cappadocian Fathers―St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. Gregory of Nyssa―spent much of their time refuting the Eunomians. In fact, the first two of St. Gregory the Theologian’s famous Five Theological Orations are dedicated specifically to refuting the Eunomians.
    7 Shepherd of Hermas, Similitudes, IX, 14.
    8 St. Clement of Rome, First Epistle to the Corinthians 59:2–3.
    9 St. Cyril of Alexandria, On the Gospel according to St. John, bk. 11, ch. 9 (in Thomas Randell, trans., S. Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria: Commentary on the Gospel According to S. John, vol. 2 [Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church Anterior to the Division of the East and West, vol. 48; London: Walter Smith, 1885].
    10 See the Chapters Against Barlaam and Acindynus, in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy (in The True Vine, issue nos. 27 & 28, pp. 63–68 & 74–77).
    11 St. Gregory Palamas, Epistle to John Gabras, sec. 13 (in Panagiotes K. Chrestou, ed., Γρηγορίου τοῦ Παλαμᾶ Συγγράμματα, vol. 2 [Thessalonica, 1966], p. 340).
    12 St. Anastasius of Sinai, The Guide (Greek text in PG 89:53).
    13Council of Constantinople of 1351, Synodal Tome, sec. 36 (in Jaroslav J. Pelikan and Valerie V. Hotchkiss, eds., Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition, vol. 1 [New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003], p. 357).
    14 Council of 1351, Tome, sec. 35 (in Pelikan and Hotchkiss, p. 357).
    15 St. Gregory Palamas, Homily 53, sec. 20 (in Christopher Veniamin, ed. and trans., Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies [Waymart, PA: Mount Thabor Publishing, 2009], p. 423).
    16 St. Gregory Palamas, Homily 53, sec. 19 (in Veniamin, p. 422).
    17 St. Gregory Palamas, Homily 53, secs. 19–20 (in Veniamin, pp. 422–423).
    18 St. Gregory Palamas, Confession of the Orthodox Faith, sec. 4 (in Pelikan and Hotchkiss, p. 377).
    19 St. Gregory Palamas, Homily 53, secs. 19–20 (in Veniamin, pp. 422–423). In this, St. Gregory follows the teaching of Holy Scripture, which alternates between saying that “God” dwells in the temple, that God’s “glory” dwells in the temple, and that God’s “name” dwells in the temple.
    20 St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ (trans. E.E. Goulaeff; London: Cassell, 1897), pp. 358, 477, http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.fig:002575139.

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