HOCNA Formally Embraces Name-Worshipping Heresy

TOC-R: Official Warning Issued to Macedonian Group
October 12, 2012
NFTU Radio: Week in Review 10/14/12 11:30PM
October 14, 2012

HOCNA Formally Embraces Name-Worshipping Heresy

For those readers just catching up a timeline is available of the events that led to HOCNA’s departure from the Orthodox Church.

On October 10, a new circular entitled “Divergent Teachings” was issued by HOCNA, where the heresy of Name-Worshipping was fully embraced. NFTU received a copy of the document only today.

We are attaching the document, where it is now obvious that the HOCNA leadership has embraced the condemned 20th century teaching of Anthony Bulatovich that God’s Name is constituent of His Energies.

The document contains the following line, confirming their position clearly: “[we believe] That created letters, sounds and random or accidental thoughts about God must not be deified. Further, they believe that these letters or sounds must not be used for occult or magical purposes.” The fact that they now believe that letters and sounds can be deified, and CAN be used for occult purposes, means they believe God can be summoned through pronunciation.

In short, HOCNA has abandoned Orthodoxy and joined itself to something else.

The document is here.

Metropolitan Moses of Portland responded in a letter today as follows:

Beloved Christians, 

Greetings in the Lord.

I just received the HOCNA pronouncement titled, “Divergent Teachings,” defending “name-glorifying.”

I wish to share with you some thoughts regarding their false reasoning.

“Divergent Teachings,” is just a rehash of their former false claims. They misuse quotes from the Holy Fathers in exactly the same way that Metropolitan misused quotes during the “Awake Sleeper” controversy.

First quote:
“We follow in the footsteps of the Holy Fathers.”
(Fourth Ecumenical Council)

Until they sign off on a document declaring that they reject the teachings of Antony Bulatovich he is their “Father” to the exclusion of the authentic Holy Fathers. They have consistently refused to do this.

Fr. Maximos pointed this out in the conclusion of his article titled, “Smokescreens” with the following words:

In our days, the name-worshippers are proving themselves worthy followers of their predecessors in heresy. By attempting to shift the focus of the debate onto the expressions of the Russian Synod, they are avoiding the real question: what is their own confession of faith? If they truly are Orthodox Christians, they can demonstrate it quickly and easily by just accepting the condemnations which the Church has published against name-worshipping. Let them proclaim loudly that the name of God is not an uncreated energy of God, but a created symbol given to us by Holy Scripture and the Fathers which expresses the inexpressible insofar as human language is capable. Let them denounce the errors of Bulatovich and the deluded monks of Mount Athos who followed him into heresy. Then we will believe that they are in truth Orthodox Christians and not members of a heretical sect.

Thus, either Bulatovich is a heretic or we are heretics.

If the present day HOCNA name-worshipping bishops reject the Constantinopolitan Resolutions of 1912 and 1913 and the Russian Synod of 1913 as heretical, they necessarily also claim that these local Churches ceased to be Orthodox in the same way the Monophysites or any other heretical groups fell away from the Church. In other words, they are saying that Metropolitan Antony was a heretic along with his successors, Metropolitan Anastassy and Metropolitan Philaret and the Russian Church Outside of Russia was never a legitimate Church. If you follow their argument to its conclusion, then all bishops and deacons and priests who were ordained or regularized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia are actually laymen. More than that, their false claims also assert that none of their baptisms or liturgies were valid.

This creates a problem for the HOCNA bishops that they seem to not understand. If the Holy Synod of Russia, the Optina Elders, Metropolitan Antony, Metropolitan Anastassy, Metropolitan Philaret and the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Governing Body of Mount Athos were all wrong, Metropolitan Ephraim is actually George Spanos and Metropolitan Makarios is Constantine Katre because their ordinations were invalid. According to their reasoning, the Genuine Orthodox Christian Church in Greece does not exist and there never was an Archbishop Akakios of Athens or an Archbishop Auxentius of Athens.

The one sentence reply to their nonsense is to tell everyone that when the present day bishops of HOCNA defend the teachings of Antony Bulatovich and claim the Russian Church fell into heresy in 1913 Metropolitan Ephraim and Metropolitan Makarios proclaim that they are actually not bishops, but rather they are laymen.

In Christ,

+Moses

As an editorial note, because of this new position, we can no longer endorse HOCNA as a True Orthodox body. We will remove their links from our general listings as well as from our resources. As general editor, I am sorry for any confusion this may cause. I’d also like to add that this event has turned an ordinary Friday into one of the saddest days in my Orthodox life.

We will continue to cover the events of the TOC-Kallinikos and the demise of HOCNA as they occur, including recent events.

  • SEVEN Churches/Synods, Brothers and Sisters…let us pay close attention to our faith, and pray that we are in one of those groups when Christ returns:
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oT8cELZS-yY&w=420&h=315%5D

    • Stan Ihoria

      Well said James, I hope you are further along in your search for church!

      • At the tip of the iceburg, Stan. Many reasons to not trust many synods around…but more so over propaganda, rather than hard evidence which I have had the chance to review yet. But, working and praying on it.
        Haven’t even jumped ship from HOCNA yet, as so many others have, in following reports, etc. All the prophets, our Lord, and all the Fathers have insisted that our faith not be only a faith in emotion and *following the leader*…but that we are to be our own researchers, our own fact finders, to *Watch* and understand The Truth. I would describe myself as a *smart skeptic* (one that actually *does* look deeply into things, and keeps an open mind till all the facts are collected).

  • karayanopoulos Yohanou

    Deacon Joseph- I am confused, you said
    “The document contains the following line, confirming their position clearly: “[we believe] That created letters, sounds and random or accidental thoughts about God must not be deified. Further, they believe that these letters or sounds must not be used for occult or magical purposes.” The fact that they now believe that letters and sounds can be deified, and CAN be used for occult purposes, means they believe God can be summoned through pronunciation.
    In short, HOCNA has abandoned Orthodoxy ”
    But their doucment seems to say quite the opposite of what you are saying . Their document says in #4 ;” That the created letters, sounds, and random or accidental thoughts about God must NOT be deified. Further, they believe that these lettesr or sounds must not be used for occult or magical purposes”
    I would not be under the influence of Met Moses, his motives are unclear, his past history regarding his bother and his ordination to the bishopric puts a big question mark on whatever he says in this regard. With Met Moses in the GOC,, my question is how long will the GOC remain one body.
    I am an outsider to both synods in question.

    • NFTU

      Ah ah ah.

      You see, having dealt with name-worshippers for a few years, you learn to study the wording very carefully. (I can also say with certainty that Luriye now has a hand in writing documents). “Must” is an imperative, a command. It is very different from “can” or “is”, which describes potentiality and actually. The command “one must study if they live in my house” is a conditional which doesn’t guarantee that the querent will study; it simply states that if they wish to live in my house they should do so.

      What that means is that the Bishops are prohibiting summoning through the use of the Name, but that they believe it is actually feasible. That reduces the Jesus prayer to a well-meaning form of summoning, a belief held by pantheists and occultists.

      No Orthodox Christian who says the Jesus prayer believes that he is calling down God, but asking for His mercy. This is exactly the opposite of what the name-worshippers teach– since they believe He is granting mercy by manifesting *Himself.*

      • Father Joseph, I am somewhat confused by this is document. This document states that it is possible to summon God through his name but that it is forbidden to do so, is that correct? If Hocna truly believes this, they have indeed abandoned Orthodoxy. Lord, have mercy.

      • Paul

        To NFTU moderator — It seems you have made us aware of this special information ( about the word MUST ), by your in depth knowledge of name worshiping adherents. Yet I find that this still leads to some confusion if someone is not patient to read, and believe or understand this explanation! A sincere question for you is the following – would it not be wiser to just put in your original opening comments that the very solid essence of why they are more OFFICIALLY considered heretical – name worshipers – is because the HOCNA bishops wrote the following FALSELY MISUSED quotes from these Saints…and that the following copied section is the PRIMARY definition of name worshiping that they are adhering to ……. see page 2 at bottom …..
        “Together with St. Clement of Rome (+100), Orthodox Christians believe that, “The Name of God gave existence to all creation.”
        1 For St. Clement and the Church Fathers, this is exactly the same as
        saying “the Grace of God gave existence to all creation;” which is exactly
        the same as saying, “God gave existence to all creation.” This is why the Orthodox, together with St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
        and St. John of Kronstadt, can say, “The Name of God is God Himself”
        because the Name of God is His Energy and Grace.” – See page 2
        Thus this above paragraph taken from there DIVERGENT TEACHINGS
        statement is about as clear as it gets ( with a few other sections as well) that
        truly shows that they are professing that they believe in this heretical
        belief. I sincerely would like your comment as you seem to be much more
        knowledgeable in this teaching than I am.
        Paul

        • NFTU

          We’ll discuss it on radio tonight

    • On the Hocna website, a letter by Father Mark Beesley defends name-worshipping by dismissing the Russian synod as invalid on several points. He then lies about Patriarch Tikhon accepting the name worshipping monks as orthodox. Patriarch Tikhon,in 1918, affirmed it as a heresy and forbad them serving in the church until they repented.

      • Stan Ihoria

        Kate,
        Again, this is standard practice for HOCNA. They will try and make it about the Russian Synod, ignoring the rest of the Orthodox world including Constantinople and Halki. Not to mention the last 100 years of history! The Ironic thing here is that while they espoused their doctrine of Awake Sleeper, their defence against that being a heresy was that it needed to be condemned by a Synod!
        Hard to remain respectful when they show none to the hearts minds and tragically souls of those who follow them without being able to separate themselves from delusion.

    • Stan Ihoria

      Kara,
      Met Moses was ordained in HOCNA, which we know to be uncanonical (see the Lamian Decision of 1997). The GOC “normalized” his ordination. This was recognised not only by him, but by BP Sergios and now BP Dimitrios. None of these three were “above” doing whatever it took to “remove any doubt”. Regardless of what you may think or believe, or have been told about Met Moses, his reply here is factual and draws a logical conclusion. What would lead you to believe the unity of the the Synod is in doubt baffles me and anyone who has spent anytime getting to know the man and his Orthodoxy. I would suggest you do your own research into what he or anyone has to say.

  • As an outsider, and one seriously considering Holy Orthodoxy for some time, I must humbly say that the judgement passed against HOCNA and its bishops seems to violate the most elementary rules of English grammar and the most basic rules of evidence in a court of law. I am amazed to see how the HOCNA document is totally turned around to make it mean exactly the opposite of what it plainly says.It is as blatant a violation of the ninth commandment as I have ever seen.

    • NFTU

      You may believe so, but in this house, you’re going to have to explain that. Sorry. Imyaslavie was condemned by the entire Church before the rise of ecumenism and Sergianism. If you ask the name-worshippers (who HOCNA now number themselves with) whether they accept the Church’s decrees, putting aside mounds of excuses, their answer is “no”.

      That’s more than enough for me.

      • Mm, I stand corrected. I must acquaint myself better with the whole matter of “name worshiping”.

  • I know I’m not a *school taught* theology major, but I do know some basics, and a lot more than most people you’d run into during the course of a day. I will say, that this particular issue has not crossed my mind too often at all…the *Name Worshipper* debate…but I have an issue with how this matter is playing out at the moment.
    My issue with HOCNA, right now, goes back to Fr. Panteliemon’s guilt, and how much of a conspiracy it was…etc.
    My issue with this *heretics* or *not* matter is the idea of…as I understood the note from HOCNA synod…that those who show *respect* for the *name* of God, alone, are to be excommunicated, and can not be considered Orthodox. Which flies against the basic *Truths* that OT Jews held to…that the *name of God* was not even to be SPOKEN, it was *holy,* and was not to be referenced other than with complete reverent fear and in extreme cases. Would we say that that is herecy?
    I have seen and heard Christians, of either Orthodox or Heterodox, seem to hold *no* reverence for God’s name. Even Jesus is not recorded as saying God’s name other than *once* in public (John 8:58 “…I AM.”). EVERY other time, our Savior, God’s *son,* always referenced the *God* via a *new* name, which He Himself gave…*The Father.* Other times, He stated *God*…*The Lord*…*My Father*…even *Lord.* But *The Name* was not one of the things that the Jews even accused Jesus of, which would have been more terrible than doing miracles on the Sabbath. Regarding *name* matters, the Jews were upset that Jesus acknowleged Himself as the *Son of God*…which was a matter they did not understand, nor did they want to consider/accept, and was close to, but not the same thing, as disrespecting *the name of God* in their understanding.
    I have even heard a lecture once where the lecturer explained that the elders of the Jews, at the crucifixion, were not so upset about the fact that Pilot had *Jesus, The King of The Jews* on the plack above Jesus’ head…but the fact that this message, in Hebrew, and taking the first letter of each capitalized word and dropping the other letters, forms *the* name of God (the process is this one: *Notes From The Underground= NFTU). Thus, in Hebrew, punctuation marks were not used…”Jesus, King”…became “Jesus King”…and in Hebrew, this message, taking the capital letters, would be: יהוה *YHWH*…The NAME of God! Which also fulfilled one more prophecy regarding the Messiah, stating that God had *marked Him* as His own, His sacrifice. Being the time of Passover, one tradition of the Temple period of Judaism was that the patriarchs of each family would bring the sacrificial lamb to the Temple…and would have to mark the lamb with the *family* name! On The Cross…God placed His name on His lamb, that there would be no doubt of the Truth. The fact that, to begin with, God’s name ended up being written out on public display…and by Gentiles…*and* being used to label someone the hierarchy of Judaism then were *inconvenienced* and *threatened* by, was a terrible offense to them, and they requested not for the message to be completely removed, but that it be altered, so that God’s name would not be able to be *seen* in it at all.
    I mention this for two key points: From OT times, God’s *name* has been revered, reverenced, feared, and held sacred. To the point where it was a terrible offense to have not only *said* it, but even to have it *written out* in any way. Even where Jesus…God Himself…did not use *His divine* name but *once* in ministering to His people!! But *main stream* society, and most of those who call themselves *Christians,* use all the various names, even *The Name* with almost no reverence, and in the most casual manner.
    Honestly…I believe that none of us are capable of speaking to *The Name* of God, as I have seen such lack of reverence that was practiced even by our Lord Himself in His time before His death and resurrection. I agree that *The Name* aught not to be seen in any mystical, magical sense…but there is a point where even Christians have *all* abandoned true, Biblical reverence for *The Name*…yet we divide eachother between those that show *too much* reverence to *The Name,* and those who see it as *any other* name, like *John* or *James*…etc.
    Where, sincerely, do we all think this line should be drawn, and at what price? A name is important, and yes, it helps form and guide whom each of us are. But, God…God is not completely known to any of us, and His ways are different from our own. His name existed before any of us, because He existed before *anything.* All we should base our approach to *The Name* on should be, first and foremost, what the teaching was in the OT…and Jesus’ own practice when walking amongst mankind.
    Reading what HOCNA declares can be considered *vague*…at best. But, I read nothing *blatantly* espousing the magical view of *The Name*…nor any other charge leveled against the declaration suggesting blatantly espousing anything other than what I understood to be OT understanding of *The Name.*
    I know that HOCNA has had a checkered past, a questionable record of motives for major declarations and choices made, and that many other *Orthodox* groups would love to see *HOCNA* disolve and vanish from the earth. But, I would love to see solid, completely unquestionable…Christian…reasons for placing a *final nail in the casket* before such a declaration of *HOCNA is “no longer an Orthodox group!”* being made. I have heard worse charges leveled against some other groups which NFTU still considers among *Orthodox* groups…let’s see some real patience and editorial neutrality before declaring this group or that group *no longer Orthodox*…we can say that a group has *lapsed* in their teachings, or that they have *wandered away* from true *Orthodoxy*…but a *declaration* of *herecy* should not be made by any other than clergy or hierarchs. Just look at what such *declarations* have lead to in the Heterodox!!
    In closing, I wish to honestly hear strong points as to why this document/declaration from HOCNA is seen as the hierarchs *espousing* a herecy. As far as I read, as I said, I concluded nothing more than an OT understanding of *The Name* of God, and all due reverence and veneration to it…as commanded of us in the Second Commandment itself: *Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (KJV, also “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God” (NRSV) and variants) is one of the Ten Commandments. It is a prohibition of blasphemy, specifically, the misuse or “taking in vain” of the name of the God of Israel. Exodus 20:7 reads:
    “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (KJV) *
    In short: Please explain where *you’re* (anyone declaring HOCNA’s document a blatant note espousing the mystical *Name Worshiping* idea) seeing this (the *blatant* espousing). Is it in the lack of blatant condemnation of the mystical herecy, or is it some percieved acceptance in the message of this mystical herecy? If the first reason, I can understand, but still, it’s grasping at straws…I’d say. If the second…I’m at a loss to see where the acceptance is being seen. Let me know.

    • NFTU

      All True Orthodox respect God’s Name.

      But God’s name is not God.

    • NFTU

      “I have heard worse charges leveled against some other groups which NFTU still considers among *Orthodox* groups…let’s see some real patience and editorial neutrality before declaring this group or that group *no longer Orthodox*…we can say that a group has *lapsed* in their teachings, ”
      Mind giving an example?

        • GOC Raleigh

          One must exercise great caution in making conclusions from YouTube videos and online essays, without knowing the persons involved in making them or the persons who are maligned by them; especially given the “facts” presented are easily manipulated or contrary facts completely left out.

          For instance, if one were to know Met. Pavlos well, he would know that Met. Pavlos would be incapable of making a forgery like the video alleges, both because of his good nature, and because he did not possess the technical know-how to do something like that. Could Bp. Gabriel have made the forgery and sent it to Met. Pavlos (who would have instinctively trusted his friend)? That is a plausible theory, but why is the video not against him then?

          Knowing that the accuser of forgery, Archbishop Gregory, was himself accused of making a forgery of Met. Valentine’s alleged arrest (which never happened) during his 2004 visit to the US, a document which quickly disappeared from Archbishop Gregory’s website after ROAC clergy consulted with the civil authorities, or the fact that Archbishop Gregory was sued and lost in court for copyright infringement against HTM, makes Archbishop Gregory’s claims all the more suspect. The author of the YouTube videos relies solely on Archbishop Gregory’s “evidence,” but numerous times has asked various clergy of the GOC about the matter and been given these types of answers, which he chooses not to believe. There is really nothing that can be done about that.

          It angers me to see the same old nonsense recycled again and again. I’m not directing that anger at people like James, who are sincerely trying to find the truth and come across these things, but more against the people who spread around gossip and rumors and style themselves some type of investigative journalist or whistle blower, but who do not follow proper procedures or do due diligence in trying to find out the truth, before producing their own essays/videos which contain factual errors, logical fallacies, and innuendo (for instance, there is another video on that YouTube channel that asks, “is so-and-so a pedophile?” and presents it as a genuine call for information…yet by even making such a video with that title, one is already seeding doubt in the minds of many viewers).

          I encourage James and anyone else looking for the facts to take the time, find the money, and take a trip or at least call on the phone people and speak to them about their questions. Don’t just rely on videos and articles on the internet (not saying that you are James).

          In my own journey to the GOC, I visited the major players, and had numerous telephone conversations with those whom I could not visit. It helped me to discern and decipher the multitude of conflicting “facts” floating about.

          • NFTU

            I’ve seen all of these videos before. Even if every word in them was true (and I don’t believe 95% of it) none in my opinion say anything that rises to HOCNA’s current level; that is, effectively nullifying the effect of councils condemning this heresy from a hundred years ago. Those who embrace heresy condemned join the number of the heretics.

            I’ve already taken heat on and offline for this decision. But I am more convinced than ever that I need to stick by it.

            As someone who was baptized in HOCNA, there is no decision more personally devastating than to look at the people who taught you Orthodoxy and then realized years later, away from them, that they’ve gone off the deep end; in a sense the HOCNA I knew is already gone, most of it having moved to the GOC and other places. The empty space has been filled by a man known in the Russian papers as the “Suicide Pope” (Samo’ovetz-Pop).

            Until that remnant turns back (and I am sadly no longer convinced they will) I can’t put them back on any formal listings, and we will likely remove them from the TOC directory which has not been updated much lately. Contrary to what people may believe about it, I am not happy to do that. I feel horrible about it. But I haven’t gotten much feedback explaining why they need to be restored in the listings except claims and accusations that I am a sleazebag with an agenda.

            Not a whit of it is true, but if those are the only reasons not to put HOCNA back, I will sleep just fine tonight.

        • Over the past few weeks, I have been in such turmoil from all these revelations. Now, I’m getting mad. According to these videos Bishop Sergios is a pedophile, Metropolitan Pavlos is a forger and heretic,etc. How do I know what’s true? I belonged to ROCOR under Saint Philaret.(Yes, I am that old) My days were full of peace and prayer. Now…confusion and chaos. If only Bishops Seraphim, Theophil and Leonty had been obediant to their synod and not ordained the Greek Old Calendarists, they would have been forced to reconcile with the Mathewites or perish. I believe that’s what Bishop Chrysostomos of Florina ordered them to do anyway, just before he died. See what disobedience brings. It seems all Greek Old Calendar jurisdictions ( Florintes) spring from one disobedient act of Bishop Seraphim, an act he later admitted was a mistake. Now even the Mathewites are splintering.
          I read that Saint Philaret wrote just before he died: “When I die our synod will split three ways. The Greeks will leave because they were never with us, those who love the world will unite with Moscow, and the remnant will be the true church.” ( I paraphrase)
          If I could only discern where the true church is. I thought I knew. Now I fear I will die outside the church because I can no longer see it.
          Lord Jesus Christ, Son Of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

          • Kate Wilson: My mindset as well. There is so much *infighting*…*slander*…*gossip*…*self serving/non-Orthodox decrees*…and the list goes on, where, now, in the *End Days,* even those *in The Church* could possibly fall from God’s grace/The Church. It has become almost impossible to discern *what/where* The Church is anymore, with all the *foolishness* that is going around in every synod. That is why I am intentionally going very slowly with my choice of what synod I affiliate my family with. I, though, trust that, in the end, even if we end up actually *outside* what is actually *The Church*…God is merciful, and as long as I do my best to raise my family in what I sincerely believe is The Church, and sincerely feel that whatever synod it is *is* part of The Church, that God will count that to my favor, and I and my family will be ok in that regard. God know’s our hearts, Kate. We must let *Him* lead us, not the synods and various theologians with motives contrary to Christ’s glory.
            About the Matthewites: http://genuineorthodoxchurch.com/apologia_Met_Kirikos.htm

          • GOC Raleigh

            Bishop Seraphim’s letter that appears on Matthewite websites is a forgery. Costa Langis, the president of the Holy Unmercenaries parish in Chicago, personally told me that he saw the original letter and that it is not what is on the internet today.

            You can know what is true by talking to the people accused or their close associates, praying, and looking at the “fruit” of their labors. With Met. Pavlos and Bp. Sergios, it is a growing church, with people from all walks of life, working together; with Archbishop Gregory, it is an ever-shrinking, negatively-charged group that is focused on accusations and gossip. That is why you don’t see anything on our website http://www.hotca.org defending our bishops from these “charges”; they do not want to get down in the mud. Let their works speak for themselves.

          • EJ

            So a fellow Florinite tells its a forgery and you believe it even though it fits the realities of what was happening at the time?

            The fact is also that HOTCA promote the hyper-heretic John Romanides, a WCC “Saint” and his historical falsifications as if they were Orthodox truth; so should people believe a word you say?

            http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFF75775B30E35D25

            http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL98D8A32209C6F87C&feature=plcp

            Not only do they lie about St Matthew the New Confessor but they lie and slander St Augustine.

            Though Vladimir Moss has no trouble it seems in saying such people as this are the Canonical and definitely Orthodox Church of Greece he did do the world a favor in exposing their hero Romanides.

            http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/downloads/345_AGAINST_ROMANIDES_3_.pdf

            Where heresy is being promoted how can anyone be certain that Grace is also present?

            Thankfully the True Orthodox Church of Greece continues uncontaminated by any heresy.

            http://churchgoc.blogspot.ie/

          • GOC Raleigh

            Your argument is a non-sequitor.

            Bishop Seraphim handed the letter (in English) to Costa Langis, who was to translate it into Greek. Fr. Panteleimon took it and offered to translate it for him and take it to Greece since he was going anyway. What ended up getting to Archbishop Auxentios was not what Bishop Seraphim had written in the first place….

            The question is, how did the Matthewites get ahold of a personal letter written from Bishop Seraphim to Archbishop Auxentios in the first place? Given Costa Langis’s position and his testimony, and given Fr. Panteleimon’s known attempts to favor the Matthewites and then even join them, suggests that he is the one that gave the letter to them.

            None of this really matters though, as a bishop’s personal opinion does not overturn the decision of the Synod, and the ROCOR Synod maintained communion with our Synod through this time.

          • May I ask you, and this is meant as a respectful question, why Archbishop Chrysostom refused to ordain any bishops when he had the opportunity to do so? I know at some points members of his synod were exiled by the Greek government, but there were times when they were all together.
            Once again, with respect, my experience has taught me that the accused and their close associates will tell the truth if they are innocent and lie when they are guily. Trouble is, you get the same story either way.
            Looking at the “fruit”, I am reminded of the psalm that says: “why do the wicked prosper?’ So, I am left with prayer and faith in God.
            Now, a not so respectful question: Is HOTCA not even a tiny bit concerned with the massive influx of HOCNA clerics, monks and laity? These are hide-bound, stiff-necked people who are used to getting their own way. I know, I used to be one of them.

          • GOC Raleigh

            I cannot speak for someone who has been reposed for 60 years, but having been a clergyman in the GOC for some four years, having seen successes and failures, having seen huge disappointments and great joys, and having my own sinful faults sow seeds of doubt in my mind from time to time, I can only imagine that at some point Met. Chrysostomos got fed up with the whole situation.

            I know for a fact that Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco was at this time trying to get bishops ordained for the GOC (in the 1950’s) by ROCOR, but was turned down. How do I know this? Because in 2005 I was granted access to the ROCOR Synodal Archives for my MDiv Thesis work, and I saw the report with my own eyes. Since I don’t read Russian, it was translated to me by a Fr. Sergius, my escort during my research. I was not permitted to photocopy this document, as I was researching the life of Met. Petros of Astoria and that was what I had a blessing to copy.

            So perhaps Met. Chrysostomos wanted to have relations with ROCOR, when it didn’t happen, he became disheartened, said “hey try to patch it up with the Matthewites” and then died. It proved difficult/impossible to patch up with Matthewites, and the ROCOR became an option again, so the archimandrites went in that direction. Speculation, but you asked for speculation 🙂

            Yes, the GOC (HOTCA is really only our corporate name in the USA, dating back to the 1970s) has been concerned about such an influx, but the gradual integration has proved to be most effective and we are hopeful for the future. We would not deny someone entrance into the Church because they “might” misbehave later, but we also had some clear steps that needed to be taken to get in the door, which were met.

            We are seeing the increased unity of True Orthodox Christians, and this is a good thing. May the Lord spare us from further dissension and division.

        • Stan Ihoria

          James, these videos are reckless and bear no responsibilty, many times in them you can hear the narrator say, “i’m just speculating”. What we speak of in HOCNA is either documented or confessed. I trust fully that you understand the difference is extreme and sadly I am surprised that you would give these and or your time.

    • George

      [i].let’s see some real patience and editorial neutrality before declaring this group or that group *no longer Orthodox*…we can say that a group has *lapsed* in their teachings, or that they have *wandered away* from true *Orthodoxy*…but a *declaration* of *herecy* should not be made by any other than clergy or hierarchs. Just look at what such *declarations* have lead to in the Heterodox!![/i]

      James, there comes a point in time when individuals or groups have fallen so far from where they should be that a label is required in order to separate them from others. When someone or a group embraces a notion that was condemned 100 yrs ago by the entire Orthodox Church, a notion that was declared as a heresy, then they are in fact heretics. You seem to want to dance around this fact, but all anyone is doing is “calling a spade, a spade”. According to the dictionary, a heretic is “a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted.” In this case, their views in regards to name worshipping is against what is generally accepted by Orthodoxy.

      The funny thing about all this is that similar to “Awake Sleeper”, HOCNA just won’t stop issuing letters, clarifications, preaching these ideas, etc. Forget theology, as a basic matter of fact, if you as a person or group introduces something that brings about major confusion, divisions, separations, etc — wouldnt that fact alone make you stop and back off?

      What is amazing to me is that after helping to build and create something for the last 30 years, Metropolitan Ephraim is doing everything and anything possible to destroy that creation. The further unfortunate thing about this is that he’s dragging down a lot of people with him who are blindly confused and obedient.

  • NFTU Mod and GOC Raleigh: “One must exercise great caution in making conclusions from YouTube videos and online essays, without knowing the persons involved in making them or the persons who are maligned by them; especially given the “facts” presented are easily manipulated or contrary facts completely left out.” Hmm…gee, I think I said something rather similar myself regarding HOCNA and their hierarchs…seems as though the sentiments go *one way* so far, though, and rather to HOCNA’s disadvantage at the moment.

    Do not confuse me as one blindly following HOCNA or ignorant of politics and theology in the matter. On the contrary, it is because of the politics and theology that I am so cautious about accepting anything *off the cuff* from any individuals as *fact.* Especially with the current matter at hand, with discovering that Fr Panteliemon was indeed guilty of the charges leveled against him, and the man I have seen as my *Spiritual Grandfather* for years, and the man who had become the metropolitan and given such honr and respect only shared in HOCNA by Fr Panteliemon, had been knowingly involved in protecting Fr Panteliemon from prosecution of said crimes against God and Man. Such reality tends to strengthen a person’s skepticism when speaking with clergy and hierarchs over difficult matters that might be damning towards their characters.

    I am still awaiting a response to my questions, though. I note that you have expressed caution to me regarding the scandals touching other synods. Though I must say…Ecumenism, NC, MP, EP, etc are JUST as harmful and worthy of excommunication as any herecies which HOCNA may have espoused. “Calling a spade a spade…” indeed. A heresy is a heresy, harmful/deadly to the soul as the next. Now, if you could expand on the particulars regarding the present HOCNA declaration which I have requested, I would appreciate it.

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  • Paul

    To NFTU Mod Thank you for your informative radio show that covered this topic! However I do hope you can comment on what I wrote yesterday . As I really would like to understand that is it not really VERY SIMPLE… that what I quoted below is “ENOUGH in and of itself” to say with authority that they are professing to believe in this heresy? It seems you did not come out and say that on the radio show “in that way”. Thus I am asking again to address this question of mine – part of what I wrote “down” below is this
    – the following copied section is the PRIMARY definition of name
    worshiping that they are adhering to …… see page 2 at bottom …..
    “Together with St. Clement of Rome (+100), Orthodox Christians believe that, “The Name of God gave existence to all creation.”
    1 For St. Clement and the Church Fathers, this is exactly the same as
    saying “the Grace of God gave existence to all creation;” which is exactly
    the same as saying, “God gave existence to all creation.” This is why the Orthodox, together with St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
    and St. John of Kronstadt, can say, “The Name of God is God Himself”
    because the Name of God is His Energy and Grace.” – See page 2
    Thus this above paragraph taken from there DIVERGENT TEACHINGS
    statement is about as clear as it gets ( with a few other sections as well) that
    truly shows that they are professing that they believe in this heretical
    belief. I sincerely would like your comment as you seem to be much more
    knowledgeable in this teaching than I am.

    • NFTU

      Well, it’s obviously a misquote, as the full quote is as follows: “But should any disobey what has been said by Him through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in transgression and no small danger. But for our part we shall be innocent of this sin, and will offer earnest prayer and supplication that the Creator of the universe may preserve undiminished the established number Of His elect in all the world through His beloved Son Jesus Christ, through whom He has called us out of darkness into light, out of ignorance into the full knowledge of the splendor of His name, that we may hope in Thy name which gave existence to all creation. Open the eyes of our heart, that we may know Thee who alone art Highest among the highest and Holy, reposing among the holy; who humblest the pride of the haughty, destroyest the designs of the heathens; who raisest up the lowly and humblest the lofty, makest rich and makest poor, slayest and bringest to life; who alone art the Benefactor of spirits and the God of all flesh. Thou gazest upon the deep, Thou beholdest the works of men, the Helper in danger, the Savior in despair, the Creator and Watcher of every spirit. Thou multipliest the nations upon the earth, and from among all Thou hast chosen those that love Thee through Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, through whom Thou hast instructed, sanctified, and honored us. We beg Thee, O Master, to be our Helper and Protector: deliver those of us who are in distress, raise up the fallen, show Thy face to those in need, heal the infirm, bring back the erring of Thy people, feed the hungry, ransom our prisoners, set the infirm upon their feet, comfort the fainthearted: let all the nations know that Thou art the only God, that Jesus Christ is Thy Son, that we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture.”

      There’s nothing in the quote that indicates he speaks of anything other than Christ Himself, who is the author of all creation.

      That said, we need to explain the underlying teaching behind the misquote, or we won’t understand just how they are misreading it– understanding that colors their perception of other Patristic writings.

  • Paul

    On NFTU website – in forum called “Orthodoxy is accused of Barlaamism by Name-Worshippers” – Hieromonk Enoch wrote “We both said that God’s Energies are Uncreated, and therefore God; we
    both stated that the Name of Jesus is not the Energies of God. The
    Name-worshippers, for example, as I have been told, believe that the
    Name of Jesus is the Energies of God, and therefore God;
    This is all I really want clarification on and it seems it really is difficult to get a straight answer. If you are in full agreement on what Hieromonk Enoch wrote then so be it and my answer is that what I wrote is “yes” . For I was not asking about how they misuse and misquote the Fathers. That is a given. My point is that they cause confusion with smoke
    screens and now this statement letter. Especially due to using the word MUST. But I just wish that there was a simple “huge red flag” for Orthodox to know about. That one sees that red flag they will “know” right away that they are dealing with a name worshiper. It seems this is the third time I have seen them quote St John of Krondstadt – see there “Prelude” in there
    other statements sent out and they love to make it BOLD and bright BLACK.
    “The Name of God is God Himself”
    But the confirmation to this red flag is this …
    because the Name of God is His Energy and Grace.
    Thus once I see that written so many times by them I can know without any doubt
    that they fully profess to be name worshipers!
    As I am not well versed in all this I did not want to be labeled a simpleton. Yet it also seems there has not been a huge following of this heresy for a 100 years so thus it is difficult to understand what some of there basic beliefs are.

    • Hieromonk Enoch

      The important question is that, this teaching was condemned 100 years ago in 2 or 3 councils. So, why bring it back? Why mess with stuff that was already declared an heresy?

      • Stan Ihoria

        Answer…to continue to separate themselves and draw closer to their brother Lourie. Then they can all be at peace together in full agreement, I am sure Lourie has no interest in any scandal past or present. Finally they can have their “sister church”!

  • Stan Ihoria

    We are all so wrapped up in the details of NM here but what is lost on most and shouldn’t be is that HOCNA does not have succession. A copy of the Lamian decesion of 1997 still sits on HOMB’s site, I wonder if they even realize it’s there. In Brief, it does say that AB Auxentios was restored BUT, that his ordinations after 1985 were not recognized, (Ephraim ’88, Makarios ’91). It is also fair to say that Makarios and Moses were unaware of this at that time, but did learn about it later. It goes on to say that AB Maximos remains deposed! If you read HOMB’s lineage, on their site again, you will understand that Ephraim was ordained by Auxentios and Maximos!! It is on this restoration that HOCNA hangs their hat. However they do not share the whole story on Auxentios’ restoration or the fact that Maximos was already defrocked for his single handed ordinations, more specifically, “the Tsakos affair”.
    Folks, one only needs to read their own site and realize they are uncanonical and without successsion!
    Again, I was born and raised in HOCNA and I am pained by friends and family that are still struggling to leave, but leave you must! All these discussions that I read here of the struggles people have, specifically our brother James are all the same things we went through. However what I can’t express here enough is how quickly I was able to see things clearly and much differently as soon as I came out of the fog. Eureka moments. I am still amazed that this information sits on their site!

    • Wow! You’re right about the Lamian decision. Ephraim and Macarios are NOT Bishops. Neither are those they ordained, Moses, Sergios and Demetrios. What a scandal. Does Metropolitan Pavlos know about this, or does their reception into HOTCA “regularize” their ordinations?
      You’re right that they do not tell the whole story. They omit that after leaving ROCOR, they went under Bishops Akakios and Gabriel. When Bishop Gabriel learned about the charges against Father Panteleimon, he broke with Bishop Akakios, leaving them with one bishop. They then began a correspondence with Arhcbishop Auxentios without the blessing of Bishop Akakios. Our parish was then informed that we were going under Arhcbishop Auxentios with the blessing of Bishop Akakios. This was later proved to be a lie. We had no canonical reason to leave Bishop Akakios and he did not give his blessing for us to leave.These facts were withheld from the laity for many years.

      Thanks for the information, Stan. I’m going to let some people know about this and hope they can find the strength to stand up for the truth.

      • Hieromonk Enoch

        By ‘regularization’, I think they mean cherothesia. Cherothesia assumes there is at least some form there, even if there is a question of irregularity, or something such. I doubt, or at least I think it is reasonable to do so, that Met. Pavlos and Abp. Kallinikos told all the former HOCNA priests that they need to throw out all the reserved Eucharist in their Artophions prior to them joining because it isn’t real Eucharist and just dried up bread.
        Someone can accept cherothesia, and say it is done for the sake of ending controversy, or they can accept it and publicly state that their previous orders, while valid in form, were not possessed of the interior Grace of the Holy Ghost.

        • For me, this is a matter of gtave importance. If I recieved The Holy Mysteries from the hand of Metropolitan Ephraim, what have I taken into myself, The Life-giving Body and Blood of Our Savior or a consumming fire?

          • Stan Ihoria

            Kate, I say with confidence that you have nothing to worry about. You like all of us were lied to and deceived, what you received with a pure heart was not to your condemnation. You did nothing wrong. If you need more speak to your Spiritual Father.

      • Stan Ihoria

        I am happy to help! H Enoch is right inthat they were all received through Herothesia to remove all doubt from their ordinations. I can also share that the clergy below them that were ordained by these men also had these healing prayers read over them, again to remove all doubt. So Met Pavlos and the entire Synod here and in Greece are well aware of this.

        • Hieromonk Enoch

          Yes, but, I’m saying that no one was made to ‘repent’ of idolatry for prostrating before the Holy Gifts during previous Pre-sanctified Liturgies, because they supposedly were not consecrated but, just simple bread and wine etc.Nor would people be told they have to go to confession again for all their sins that they have committed prior to joing HOTCA; and so forth. Nor, would, I assume, a command have been issued to empty their Artophions of Communion put there prior to the cherothesia, or commands that all the laity acknowledge that those who died while part of HOCNA were not to be commemorated in any public form, etc. As is well known, their are basically 5 historic methods for uniting clergy to the Orthodox Church: 1. Simple Confession of Faith. 2. Vesting. 3. Reading of prayers of absolution. 4. Cherothesia. 5. Cherothonia. From most lenient to most strict.
          As I understand, none of the former HOCNA bishops or clergy who were received by cherothesia were made to publicly state that they had to do any of the thing mentioned above. Therefore, a method was left open for them to believe in their view, that they were really clergy, and that the people that had died under their pastoral care, prior to HOTCA, but in HOCNA, could continue to be commemorated. Therefore,if these allowances are made, in what sense could HOCNA, from the perspective of these allowances, be considered never schismatic? Do people normally allow schismatics to be commemorated in panikhidas or at the Proskomide?

          • Stan Ihoria

            H Enoch, I can’t speculate on what happened beyond Herothesia, I don’t know. Repentnace may have been a part, however right believing and honest clergy I am sure are not guilty of idolatry. I imagine however that reaching one of the Hierarchs migth get you the answer you are looking for.

  • Paul

    Following quote taken from

    “Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky on the Heresy of Name-Worshipping”
    “Let us ask, in the conclusion of our analysis of Bulatovich’s book: Is
    there in the fathers even a single expression that supports this book’s
    teaching that the name of God is allegedly God Himself? Not a single
    one.
    The lies that Bulatovich has contrived are those swept away like
    cobwebs. He has served the glorious name of Jesus in his evil-pursuit as
    corruptly as have the Jesuits who have given His name in the wickedness
    of their extraneous earthly ends.”

    Yet it seems there was many name worshiping followers who had an agenda for

    “earthly ends” back in those days to take over land and monasteries.
    Thus it begs the question do we have another “land grab” going on within HOCNA?? Because this recent “Divergent Teachings” was most likely written by
    Bishop Gregory of HOCNA and his “associates”. As his time spent in Barcelona, Spain from 1992 to 1996 and his “associations” within that country were tied to “questionable”

    folks from Russia.
    But of course all this could be just speculation?!

    • Stan Ihoria

      This all sounds very familiar! Nice post Paul.

  • Anonymous

    Stray thoughts from Carlisle, Pennsylvania

    I felt a little sick to my stomach when you mentioned Sunday’s liturgy had been impiously interrupted. If things have gone that far, if things have finally reached the point where the Church’s fundamental means of exhibiting and offering grace have been so deeply disturbed, then all is lost.

    Even when I was at my most devout period in HOCNA I always knew I was a schismatic, a member of a religious body in schism (for whatever reason, legitimate or not). My biggest error was I just didn’t think it mattered all that much. And how do normative Orthodox clergy and theologians look at HOCNA? From what I’ve gathered the only fault they find is in the group’s status as a schismatic body; at all other points they regard HOCNA as dogmatically and liturgically sound… or nearly so.

    However soft I may personally be on the “name worshipping” issue, if, what Bishop Ephraim’s critics are saying is true and HOCNA has embraced “name worshipping” – and again, based on Bishop Ephraim’s statements I’m not entirely convinced that he has embraced “name worshipping” in the way his critics suggest – then HOCNA really has left the fold and Bishop Moses and his friends are justified to protest.

    But I don’t think that’s what’s happening. There are all kinds of things going on out of our view behind this issue: financial things, personal things, factional things, and who knows what else. HOCNA’s skeleton closets have always been cavernous; or more fittingly, catacomb-like. Bishop Ephraim’s unfortunate and perhaps badly timed statements regarding this issue merely created the opportunity for his enemies to put their heads together and hatch their plots.

    Bishop Ephraim is a devout man, a meek man, a true pastor… but like anyone else in the public eye, and leaving his status as a schismatic aside, his weaknesses are obvious. Besides, who among us can claim we are dogmatically sound on all matters of faith? That Bishop Ephraim’s most vocal critics within or formerly within HOCNA are also the most contentious of this already contentious lot ought to alarm all Old Calendrists and Anti-Ecumenists that something much more disturbing is going on.

    As with anything else, who benefits? And who suffers the most here if not the humble laity when even their Sunday liturgy is disturbed in the name of… what?

    Anonymous: formerly HOCNA

    • Stan Ihoria

      Anonymous,
      I am not going to get into a personal campaign against Ephraim, but you need to read Fr Christos report! Ephraim is complicite in the cover up, Ephraim was caught in his deceptions on this issue.
      I am unclear to what you are referring to on the disruption of Liturgy? What happened?

  • Paul

    Many of the readers here are familiar with the website link that has a title – Facts About Name-Worshipping . As of yesterday there is a new posting there that comments on “Divergent Teachings” , on Bishop Gregory’s paper about Bishop Demetrius,and the HOCNA synod finding fault with the GOC synod. The link is here and it is very well written in a wise way giving one an understanding of all the recent events.
    http://onimyaslavie.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-hocna-statements-of-october-8-and-10.html
    If this link does not work one can copy and paste this –
    onimyaslavie blog

    • Stan Ihoria

      Paul, this link is perect and perhaps out brother here, “Anonymous” should also count this document towards his opinion of Ephraim. Again I say there is nothing new here in HOCNA strategy, EVERYONE who has ever left them has something wrong with them, are dereanged or worse. Will they ever be at fault amonst their own?

      • Anonymous

        Stan… thanks for the links. I defer to your interpretation here for reasons I no longer wish to elaborate… Having left HOCNA years ago I’ve rediscovered over the last few weeks how little patience I have with their – and even their critcs’ – incessant drama and theological wrangling. Letting my bitterness move me to participate, I now sincerely apologize for entering into a discussion in which I have no stake. Procopi Gewiss (Anonymous in Carlisle)

    • Very enlightening. So, HOCNA bishops declare that they have identical ecclesiology with GOC-Kallinikos. What possible reason could they have to not join in communion with them? Hmmm…maybe Metropolitan Pavlos wanted to investigate the allegations against Father Panteleimon ( the latest one made in 2007!) How could HOCNA back out now? Father Panteleimon (and I believe he pulls the Bishop’s strings) digs up two arcane heresies (awake sleeper and name-worshipping) that no-one alive had ever heard of (except Lourie, of course) and proceeds to declare that if you don’t accept them YOUR”RE a heretic. Bye, bye GOC.
      All to protect an “elder” who systematically abused those who placed their souls in his care.
      Do I sound bitter? I am.

      • Stan Ihoria

        I guess we all go through the bitter phase Kate, the only thing left that upsets me are firends that remain in deception, friends that are trained that piety is tied to obedience and loyalty, disregarding all reason and logic to “stay with the man”.

        • Yes, Stan, I am thinking to much of my own hurt feelings, and that is wrong. I am deeply concerned about my aged mother (85) ,still in a HOCNA parish, who told me not to tell her any more about scandals and heresies because she just wants to die in peace. For many, this may be about “theological wrangling” but for us it is about people we love.

          • Stan Ihoria

            I still think you are being too hard on yourself Kate, I think we’ve all been exactly where you are. As for your mother, really that is for God to decide, just as He will for all of us. I don’t think with her age and faith over the years, (assuming) she will be judged harshly for our current condition. Does she have a GOC parish nearby, if so, which one? Still though, shame on them for putting people and families in this position. There is no care or concern for split families and friends and the devastation it has caused just to promote their agenda. We should be praying for the many peope in parishes throughout HOCNA trying to break free but are facing great difficulties in trying to do so.

          • yes, my mother has great faith. Her parish is 150 miles away in another country! She lives in Canada, her parish is in the U.S. Unfortunately, the other parishes near her are OCA.