Is HTM Changing Liturgical Texts to Correspond to Imyabozhist Teaching?

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Is HTM Changing Liturgical Texts to Correspond to Imyabozhist Teaching?

HTM

A longtime reader of NFTU brought to our attention that newer HTM liturgical texts have been changed from their original meaning as well as previous translations. The new translations reflect the Imyabozhie heresy, which caused a split in HOCNA which NFTU reported on last year.

We received an email which was out of concern for public safety in using newer HTM texts. The following was brought to our attention:

“So basically my choir and I came across something interesting during the Matins of the feast of Saints Joachim and Anna.  Our choir uses the HTM translations of the Menaion books and came across an interesting translation of one of the stichera.  It reads:

“Thanks to the Saviour’s Name (capitalized), Who careth for creation, Whose will was that beyond hope…”

PDF of image: (English translation 2005 final version – O house of Ephratha) — editor

Something about it felt odd.  The reference to the Saviour’s name for one.  The fact that the “Name” was capitalized, and in the third verse that the “Name” had a “will.”  For a moment I thought that if this indeed was correct, maybe the name-worshippers would have “some” validity.  I then had the thought to cross reference it with the original greek text that it was translated from, and was stunned to find that they completely mistranslated the text.  This new translation was completed in 2005.  I couldn’t understand why they would do this.  It was at this time, that a fellow chanter said that we should probably compare it to HTM’s original translation of the Menaion from 1986.

It reads like this:

“Thanks to the Saviour and Provider of all things, Who was well pleased that beyond hope….”

(Greek – O house of Ephratha PDF Image)

(English translation 1986 version – Greek – O house of Ephratha PDF Image)

This translation is pretty spot on as it pertains to the original Greek.  The question then begs, why would HTM change their own translation that was completely in line with the Greek to say something that it clearly doesn’t?  It was obvious to us that the spirit of name-worshipping has entered their mindset.  This new translation shows a clear deception on their part.  They claim that the Holy Fathers write these things about the name of God in their writings, when in fact, HTM is altering translations to include their idea of the “Name” of God.  Who knows how many of their writings have been altered to reflect this idea of the name of God.  They are considered to have of the best English translations in the Orthodox world.  I’m not so sure anymore.”

The author also included photo scans of the two differing texts as well as the Greek, which we have linked above. As I am not proficient in Greek, I leave that to our readers to determine the accuracy It may be that HTM’s more recent work within the past 10 years has to be reviewed for subtle change to reflect to their new teachings, in which case they may well be considered suspect.

  • Joseph

    Very sad! I have always promoted their texts to friends. Times are definitely changing 🙁

  • Thomas Deretich

    In its liturgical translations, Holy Transfiguration
    Monastery in Boston has been consistently capitalizing the “Name” of God,
    “Name” of the Lord, etc., since the publication of A Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians (1st edition, 1987). See the Pentecostarion (1990), the Great Horologion (1997), the Menaion (12 vols.; 2005), Service of
    Preparation for Holy Communion (2006), Psalter (pocket-size edition, 2007),
    and Psalter (revised, full-size edition, 2008).

    The “Name” of God has been consistently capitalized
    since 1987, whereas the “name-glorification controversy” began to be discussed
    within HOCNA only in December 2011. In June 6/19, 2012, Metropolitan Ephraim,
    in his first writing relating to this topic, wrote that if anybody was guilty
    of deifying letters and sounds then that person would be guilty of “heresy” (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzJKrDVZPwcvRzR5dlVzRThJSjg/edit?usp=sharing&pli=1).
    Countless statements subsequent to that first
    statement have consistently said that the material names (letters and sounds)
    are not God.

    What HOCNA has said is that often in the Scriptures,
    Fathers, and prayers of the Church, the “name” of God means the uncreated energy
    of God, which is God Himself. This is not to say that the material names are
    the energy of God. Rather, as St. Gregory Palamas writes, God “dwells” in the
    sacred created words like He “dwells” in the sacred created icons, sacred
    relics, and other sacred material objects. That is the Orthodox patristic
    teaching. That is also what HOCNA teaches.

    • NFTU

      A) They changed their own texts. No one is arguing they didn’t capitalize the Name of God. The article points out that they changed translations which said God was taking an action to “God’s Name” taking the action.

      B) You write: “What HOCNA has said is that often in the Scriptures,
      Fathers, and prayers of the Church, the “name” of God means the uncreated energyof God, which is God Himself.”

      But… it doesn’t. HOCNA choosing to invent a new meaning for the word “name” takes away from the fact that the Name of God has already been defined in the Fathers, Scriptures and Prayers of the Church. And in the Orthodox world, the Name of God is His Name. Not “the manifestation of His energy”. The Name of God does not mean the energies of God. God has always had energies. St Issac the Syrian teaches “There was a time when God had no name, and there will be a time when He will have no name”. Will He then have no energies?

      I am sorry. Either HOCNA are inventing a “third” way to avoid the charge of being open heretics, or they are simply engaging in misdirection. Either way, they’ve made their new translations increasingly “Imyaslavyist-friendly”. And if they are sacrificing the quality of their own accuracy in translation to do it, I fear their newer material cannot be as trustworthy.

      P.S. So whose notes are you cribbing? The carriage return marks are showing in the post….

    • Joseph

      I’m a bit confused. You say that the “name of God is the uncreated energies of God” and then contradict yourself in the last paragraph by quoting St. Gregory Palamas who writes, God “dwells” in the sacred
      created words like He “dwells” in the sacred created icons, sacred relics,
      and other sacred material objects. That is the Orthodox patristic teaching. That is also what HOCNA teaches”.

      This is NOT what HOCNA teaches. When God dwells in the sacred relics, or in the sacred icons etc., this in no wise makes these sacred objects “God Himself”. This simply means that God’s grace dwells in these sacred objects just as His grace dwells in His name. I think that you are confusing “dwell” with “is”. Just trying to clarify.

      • Thomas Deretich

        In the language of the Orthodox Church, the “name” of God can mean two things: the Creator Himself and a created symbol for God. When St. Clement of Rome writes of “Your name that is the author of all creation” and writes of the “almighty” name, he is using “name” to mean the uncreated power of God, which is God Himself. That is why St. Clement writes that God is the “champion and protector of those who worship [latreuontes] His all-excellent name,” because “name” there means the Creator Himself, not a mere created symbol. St. Cyril of Alexandria writes that when Christ refers to the “name” of God in John 17:1-26, Christ means the uncreated power and glory of Godhood that the Father and Son share from before the creation of the world. St. Cyril even refers to the “energy/activity of the Father” and treats the glory, power, name, and truth of God as the energy of God that keeps, protects, and safeguards the disciples. On Theophany, Orthodox priests worldwide call upon all of creation to glorify the Lord’s “name, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.” In that prayer, “name” of the Lord, means the hypostasis of the Son, that is, Jesus Christ Himself, and the Lord’s “name” (the Son) is given worship equal to that of the Father and the Spirit. The Holy Fathers take the prophecy of Malachi 1:11 (about gentiles offering incense and a pure sacrifice to the name of the Lord) as a prophecy of the Christian Eucharist offered to the Divine Trinity. In all these texts, and numerous others, “name” of God means God Himself: whether the Trinity, the Son, or the divine energy. In Hebrew and Greek, the “name” of something often means the “reality” of something, not a mere symbol. When St. Luke writes of a “crowd of names” (ochlos onomaton, Acts 1:15) gathered in the Upper Room, he means 120 real people, not mere symbols. Throughout the Scriptures, Fathers, and liturgical service books, the “name” of God often means “God Himself,” not a created symbol for God. This is why St. John of Kronstadt’s statement, “the name of God is God Himself,” can be understood in a perfectly Orthodox way. To insist that the “name of God” can only mean a created symbol goes against how the prophets, the Church Fathers, the liturgical service books, and our Savior Himself sometimes spoke of the “name” of God. When scriptural, patristic, and liturgical texts of the Orthodox Church refer to the worship of God’s name, they refer to the worship of God Himself, not an idolatrous worship of created names. Created things, if they are especially sacred, receive veneration, because God “dwells” in them. No one is saying God *is* the material word/symbol. Rather, “name of God” can have a double meaning: the Creator Himself and a created symbol in which God dwells, as He dwells in a holy relic or icon. Even though the word “name” has a double meaning, this does not mean that the Church is confusing the Creator with creation. In Orthodox theology there is the Uncreated Word (God the Son) and created words. There is the Uncreated Consubstantial Icon (God the Son) and the created icons. Similarly there is the Uncreated Name (God Himself) and the created names.

        The Church does not confuse the uncreated divine energies, which are the uncreated God Himself, with the created names that symbolize God, — even though, in the Church, “name of God” can and does refer to both the Creator Himself and created symbols. In both secular and Orthodox usage, “name” can have a double meaning (reality and symbol), but the Church never confuses the Uncreated God with His creation. Metropolitan Ephraim has always maintained the proper Orthodox distinction. As quoted earlier, he wrote on June 19, 2012, that if anybody deified sounds and letters “then he is certainly guilty of heresy” (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzJKrDVZPwcvRzR5dlVzRThJSjg). Metropolitan Ephraim and the HOCNA synod have stated repeatedly — officially and in writing and online — that they reject the deification of sounds and letters. So, the accusation that HOCNA confuses the uncreated energies of God with the created names for God is false. Just read all the HOCNA statements that have always and consistently made this distinction from the beginning. Read them honestly and fairly. Better yet, read what the Holy Scriptures, Fathers, and prayers of the Church say about the name of God, see http://www.thewonderfulname.info, and you will frequently see reference to the uncreated name (that is God Himself), which is *not* the same as the created symbols.

        For more about the uncreated power of God and the created names for God, see also the statements by Vladimir Lossky (http://www.thewonderfulname.info/2013/02/letter-of-prof-vladimir-lossky-on.html) and, especially, Serge Verhovskoy (http://www.thewonderfulname.info/2012/11/the-distinction-between-created-and.html). These statements from “mainstream” theologians are very much in harmony with what HOCNA has been saying. More importantly, what HOCNA has been saying is consistent with what the Holy Scriptures, Councils, Fathers, and liturgical service books teach.

        P.S.: This posting and my earlier posting are my own formulations, no one else’s. The “carriage returns” to which you refer are due to cutting and pasting from my own MS Word document. No conspiracies here!

        • NFTU

          There is a lot of clever wordplay here. A name is a designation. When someone says “call upon the Name of the Lord’, it is clear they are calling upon God, not specifically his name. That’s the very purpose of any name– it’s a designation of an object in language. The danger in name-worshipping is the identification of the designation itself as the energies of God. This is the equivalent of saying that my printed name is an extension of myself. It’s not. It’s a designation that I have been given.

          Likewise, calling upon the Name of the Lord is calling upon God, not specifically the Name of God because it is God. It is in this careful muddling of designation and object that the early name-worshippers were able to clearly delineate the heretical belief that the use of the Jesus Prayer was efficacious because the Holy Name of Jesus was in it. The Russian Synod caught on quite well to the poision in that teaching. Instead of separating designation from object, however, you insist on muddling the two, allowing Imyabozhie as condemned to exist as a theologumenon.

          In the end, name-worshipping is simple pantheism dressed up as Orthodoxy. And despite all these clever muddlings, the end result is that a name-worshipping heretic as condemned can be right at home in HOCNA.

        • NFTU

          Furthermore, referring to a pair of Sergianists and the HOCNA Imyabozhie defense website is not going to pass muster here. Put all the Patristic quotes you want here for examination, within reasonable size. Delete the heresy advertisements or I will delete your post.

          No, I’m not fair when it comes to heresy. Sorry.

          • faithful christian

            I’m trying to understand the position of the moderator here… Could you please explain exactly where the heresy is here that you are accusing HOCNA? I need that silver bullet because, I keep hearing accusations that are not true. According to their official statement, this is what they believe.

            We are not “name-worshippers”; therefore, we reject the false teachings ascribed to them.

            We do not believe that:

            1. God’s Name is His essence;

            2. God’s Name is to be separated from Him;

            3. God’s Name is another deity;

            4. The letters, sounds and random/accidental thoughts about God are to be deified, or used for magical purposes.

            That sounds pretty clear to me as to what they believe.

            Could you please explain the meaning of, “Our Father which art in the Heavens, hallowed be thy Name”? In Greek, Πάτερ ημών ο εν τοις ουρανοίς, αγιασθήτω το όνομά Σου.

            Translations:
            Hallowed = regarded as holy; venerated; sacred (taken from dictionary.com)

            αγιασθήτω = comes from the Greek word αγιάζω which means, to render Holy, to consecrate – to revere as sacred; to worship (taken from a Greek dictionary).

            Father Haralampos’s (who left HTM for the GOC) article on the incomprehensibility of God is printed in the True Vine, Volume 9, #31, in which he says “Christ promises to continue to declare the Name of God to the Disciples as He already has done in the past, and He will bring them to know the Name of God,” where Father Haralampos both capitalizes “Name” and treats God’s Name as a mystery requiring the divine revelation by Christ to His disciples, a fundamentally different position from the one he began to take in 2012.

            The GOC believes in the Trinity Icon, do they not? How do you depict God in an image and worship the icon when no one has ever seen God the Father? Isn’t that strange? You are in essence worshipping an image that someone has portrayed out of their imagination.

            In Philippians 2:9–10, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name which is above every Name: That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;”

            – That sounds pretty clear to me.

          • NFTU

            The heresy in question is whether the “Name of God is God Himself”. That HOCNA and the New Russian Imyabozhists have begun to claim that the Name of God is His Energies means they still believe what Bulatovich and the rest believe. Under HOCNA’s definition, none of the name-worshippers are name-worshippers, but under the Church’s definition, they are.

            The telling part is the idea that the Name is “not to be used for magical purposes”. This implies that the name can, but should not, be so used. The logical conclusion is that HOCNA does in fact agree with Hilarion and Bulatovich: the Name of God itself in fact allows the utterer to invoke the energy of God.

            But if this is true, then what of the sons of Sceva who attempted to invoke the Name of Jesus? They intended to do exactly what the disciples were called to do– exercise demons– but they could not. The pronunciation of the Name was worthless without the faith of the Church.

            Further, Orthodox Christians worship (latria) God alone: the icon acts as a prototype. We don’t “worship” icons, we worship and venerate their subjects. We do not believe icons come from “imagination” but are passed down by tradition from an original. As for the the icons of God the Father, the Scripture is clear enough: “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hbr 1:3) Or now is Our Lord Jesus Christ not the Image of God the Father? You are playing a dangerous game with faith when you have already framed the holy icons as someone’s “imaginative pictures”.

            I bow at the Name of Jesus because it is *HIS* NAME. It is HIS designation. Not because it the name has power on its own. I have a son named Joshua. I have friends named “Jesus” (common in Spanish cultures). Shall I bow every time I call my son for dinner or say hello to them? The “Name” is the same. But the *designation* is clearly different.

          • Thomas Deretich

            Once again, a key to understanding this issue is to acknowledge the fact that “name” (in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Church Slavonic, etc.) can mean both “symbol” and “reality.” (See my earlier posting.) When St. Luke wrote of a “crowd of names” (ochlos onomaton) gathered for Pentecost, he was not writing about 120 “symbols” walking into the Upper Room. The 120 “names” that walked into that room were 120 persons. They were realities. The idea that “name” can only mean a “mere symbol” and can never mean “reality” is a distinctly modern prejudice. It is very foreign to how the Scriptures and the Fathers use the word “name.” (Look in the lexicons for biblical languages.)

            Everyone agrees that the material names that designate God are not God’s uncreated power/energy. HOCNA teaches that material names are not God’s uncreated energies. Metropolitan Ephraim has written that equating sounds and letters with God is “heresy” (June 6/19, 2012) and he has repeatedly rejected, in writing, such equivalence. HOCNA has condemned such equivalence and no one in HOCNA is teaching that view. The question is this: Do the Scriptures, Saints, and prayers of the Orthodox Church sometimes call the uncreated power/energy of God the “name” of God? The answer is: Yes, the Scriptures, saints, and prayers of the Church do sometimes call the power/energy of God the “name” of God. In fact, Christ Himself calls the active power of God the “name” of God in John 17:1-26. In Christ’s words, the “name” of God is the active, uncreated power of God that guards and protects the disciples and keeps them united. John 17:11b-12a reads: “πάτερ ἅγιε, τήρησον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι, ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς. ὅτε ἤμην μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐγὼ ἐτήρουν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι, καὶ ἐφύλαξα.” The New International Version gives this translation: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me” (New International Version). Notice that the NIV translates “onoma” with the word “power” not just the word “name.” This is completely consistent with patristic exegesis. St. Cyril of Alexandria (http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/cyril_on_john_11_book11.htm) spends many pages stating over and over again that the “name” of God is the “power” (exousia, dynamis, ischys) and “glory” (doxa) “of the Godhead” (tes Theotetos). St. Cyril then asks why Christ changes words (from power/glory/name) to saying that “truth” will protect the disciples. His answer: It indicates that God’s “energy” (energeia) is not uniform. God’s power, glory, name, and truth protect and keep the disciples safe because God’s power, name, and truth are God’s “energy.” God’s energy is not uniform. God’s energy is designated as the “truth” and “glory” and “power” and “name” of God. Those who would condemn the idea that “name” of God could ever mean “power/energy” of God are condemning how Holy Scripture speaks. Rather than condemning, it might be better to acknowledge that “name” in Scripture can mean both “designator” and “reality.” Scripture is not confusing the Creator with creatures. Rather, “name” is one word that can refer to both the Creator Himself and to material “designators” that designate Him. The problem is that some modern people do not understand how Scripture and the Fathers use the word “name.” St. John of Kronstadt did understand that “name” can have a double meaning. It can refer both to a symbol for God and to God Himself. That is why Orthodox Christians can never renounce St. John of Kronstadt’s teaching that: “the name of God is God Himself.” Orthodox Christians embrace that teaching and know that that great saint was not confusing the uncreated energies with created sounds and letters. Rather, he was teaching that God’s uncreated power (which is sometimes called God’s uncreated “name”) dwells in the created, material names for God, just as God’s uncreated power dwells in relics and icons. The name “Jesus” (and “Joshua”) is a sacred name — a sacred icon — and we would do best never to profane that name, never to commit sacrilege against that holy icon.

          • NFTU

            This may upset you, but I am going to upvote you and ignore most of your exegesis at the same time. It’s not out of rudeness– I am perfectly willing to concede much of it’s correct.

            But that doesn’t solve the problem. It only makes it worse.

            I would be glad to truly believe that your position was this nuanced– and solely interested in the clarity of liturgical terms- had your Synod not decided to condemn the Synod of Constantinople, the Russian Synod, defend the heretic Anthony Bulatovich, and commune the most notorious name-worshipper in modern history. Nor does it help to begin inserting “God’s Name” in translations in place of where your own previous translation says “God” without any justification in the Greek (which is why all three texts were put in the article; another was recently submitted). Considering, based on your argument, the myriad was we could refer to God, the sudden obsession with God’s Name after your Synod’s communing heretics leaves sufficient cause for concern.

            Now I admit that based on your clarifications there could well be a clear Orthodox interpretation. However, you must climb through the pile of mud HOCNA created in order to get through it. And that’s simply not how the Church works in its purity. Your Synod chose to condemn a host of Orthodox leaders and some saintly individuals to get to the point of your current clarification and I am not convinced, based on their actions, that your leaders actually believe what you wrote above.

            I ask you to read the following. It’s from Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky on the teachings of Monk Ilarion and Antony Bulatovich, citing their writings. Since you seem intent on clarifying that you don’t actually mean the Name of God materially is God, but only in an abstract sense, would you agree with him?

            http://onimyaslavie.blogspot.com/2012/09/metropolitan-anthony-khrapovitsky-on.html

          • Thomas Deretich

            The Russian “synodal” statement of 1913, which was actually written by Sergius of sorry memory himself and signed by a few other bishops (including, sadly, Archbishop Antony Khrapovitsky) claimed that the energies of God “may” be called “divine” (bozhestvo) if we speak like St. Gregory Palamas in a “sense that is more broad than normal,” but (the statement claimed) God’s energies are “not” God and “certainly not” God Himself! This is a grotesque perversion of Orthodox dogma, since St. Gregory Palamas taught that “every power or energy [of God] is God Himself”; and the synods of 1341, 1347, 1351, 1352, and 1368 upheld St. Gregory’s teaching and condemned his critics. The great synod of 1351, which some Orthodox call the Ninth Ecumenical Synod, says that the divine energy flows “without separation” from the divine essence. There is a distinction without a separation. The Synodicon of Orthodoxy states that “there is in God both essence and energy” and it anathematizes those who would deny this dogma of the Orthodox Faith. It anathematizes those who would deny or pervert the teachings of St. Gregory Palamas on essence and energy. Out of extreme ignorance, Sergius of sorry memory made a very serious dogmatic error. But it is not a total surprise, because of the great ignorance of that time about the Orthodox teaching on essence and energy. (By the way, I do not endorse the Sergianism of Vladimir Lossky and Serge Verhovskoy, but I do think that they were important scholars of patristics [Lossky attempted to correct Sergius] and that we should not ban all references to the parts of their writings that were genuinely Orthodox.) Yet, despite the serious errors of 1913, those who left HOCNA in September 2012 demanded “unreserved, unqualified, unconditional” official endorsement of the false 1913 decree. That condemnation of the Athonite name-glorifiers was extremely controversial among the Russian Orthodox people in 1913. The way they were hastily condemned and persecuted was widely rejected by the Faithful. The Tsar Martyr wrote that he feared the “wrath of God” would come on the Russian land because of the 1913 condemnation of the Athonite Fathers. St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess was also a staunch supporter of the hastily-condemned monks. St. Elizabeth was more informed on this issue than some of the bishops were. The Russian bishops stepped back from the extremeness of the 1913 condemnation in various ways and in various decisions that permitted a reconciliation without adherence to the false 1913 decree. Archbishop Anastasy Gribanovsky (later primate of ROCOR) was on one of the commissions that made a reversal. During World War I, name-glorifying priest-monks served officially as army chaplains. In 1921, St. Tikhon concelebrated with Archimandrite David Mukhranov, who was the leading preacher of name-glorification, and who continued to openly preach that understanding in the Churches of Moscow around the same time he was concelebrating with St. Tikhon. There was a complete reconciliation because the name-glorifiers did not teach the heresy that some people said was taught in the writings of Fr. Antony Bulatovich, namely that created names are God Himself. The name-glorifiers in their official statement of beliefs (August 1, 1918) wrote of the “inseparable presence of God in His Name.” Note that, according to this statement, the presence of God is distinct from the created name, but present within it, which is what St. Gregory Palamas says about God “dwelling” in “God-given [created] words.” This is what I believe and, I think, what you believe also. What did the name glorifiers say about the energies? “His Name is … energy (as understood according to its inner, mystical aspect and not as mere letters and sounds or some abstract idea).” So, it appears they did distinguish the uncreated energies (which they correctly confessed to be “God Himself” from the created words (sounds and letters) which are not God, but which have God dwelling in them, as the Church teaches. No one is saying that they expressed everything perfectly. But it is undeniable that the name glorifiers, in their official statement, did make the proper distinction between the created names/letters/sounds and the uncreated name/power/energy. (I consider Fr. Antony Bulatovich and Bishop Gregory Lourie to be side issues, because the issue is what the Orthodox saints taught, but I have never seen proof that those two individuals confused the created names with the uncreated energy. I have read that they explicitly reject that confusion. If Fr. Antony Bulatovich made that confusion in some of his wording, then that false wording should be rejected. HOCNA has always clearly rejected such a confusion.) But the clearly-false wording of the 1913 decision, which said the opposite of what the Orthodox Church says, should also be rejected. HOCNA has rightly rejected the false 1913 decision, as St. Nicholas the Tsar Martyr did and St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess did. Those who created a schism from HOCNA demanded an endorsement of that false decree “without reservation, without qualification, without conditions”! HOCNA accepts the reconciliation between St. Tikhon and the name-glorifying monks, because those monks rejected the heresy of making sounds and letters God. HOCNA has always rejected the heresy of making sounds and letters God. (I will leave it to others to make a final determination whether Fr. Antony Bulatovich really did teach that heresy. The All-Russia Council in 1917–1918 was set to investigate that issue, but the Communist persecutions prevented that from happening.) On the energies of God, the name glorifiers were correct to confess that the energies are God Himself, and Sergius and Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky (sadly) were wrong on that specific issue. No one is saying that the entire Russian Church completely “lost grace” because a group of bishops issued a botched decree. The Russian Church has never accepted the dogmatic errors of the 1913 decree into the mind and conscience of the Church. But, I would not want to be in the shoes of those today who demand total and absolute endorsement of the anti-Palamite decree of 1913, now that we all know how un-Orthodox it was. Rather, I will stick with the reconciliation of 1921 between St. Tikhon and the name glorifiers.

            No one is saying that the name of God works mechanically or magically. Miracles are the result of God’s providence and our openness to God’s grace. There are, however, instances in the lives of the saints were God worked a miracle though an icon, or a relic, or a shrine, or a sacred name or ritual, for an unbeliever. The synergy from man can come after the act of grace, according to God’s determination. God’s created name is not magic, but God’s grace can overflow sacred, created objects and lead an unbeliever to belief. I think we all agree on that as well.

          • NFTU

            I was hoping that you had some sense, but I see when confronted with the reality that you’d have to condemn “teachers” who say precisely the things you deny saying, you turn to attacking the authority of the Church.

            Anthony Bulatovich and his followers were heretics. You now claim they don’t make your distinctions.

            You’re a heretic.

            EDIT: I considered that I would be deleting your posts shortly. I will have to answer you, since it seems you are playing a game with us.

          • Nick B

            I think if you delete Thomas’s posts your a COWARD. Instead of trying to express your counterpoints you are sending the message I’m going to take my toys and go home. Delete his post COWARD! The only one playing a game is you. Your a joke!!

          • A.B

            Nick B. (you changed it to Guest for some reason), he has been expressing his counterpoints. Why are HOCNA people so angry when others call them out? Thomas and others on this site are expressing their heretical views. Should the moderator allow heretical opinions on a traditionalist Orthodox site? I would think not. Sadly, they have a lot of people defending their views on the “Name” of God. They have turned you and others into imyabozhists defending their every action. Did you have these beliefs before it was introduced to you. Then on top of that, they created their own website to promote this teaching – http://www.thewonderfulname.info – and have you all promote it and celebrate it. These are very sad times.

          • Nick B

            I did not change my name to Guest. I actually tried to delete my comment. I stand by its accuracy 100% but the reason why I tried to delete it is because it is not the Christian thing to say. I overreacted and I ask forgiveness from NTFU (whoever he is). Not because he is right in his actions but because my comment was said out of anger and frustration. Christianity teaches us not to act that way.

            Thomas makes some good points and the so called “Moderator” is threatening to delete them because he doesn’t agree with them. Did the moderator become some kind of Ecumenical Council on his own? He is the pope and whatever he deems right is correct? I respect the moderator’s opinion. He can provide all the counterpoints he likes and I will read them and acknowledge where I think he makes good points. But to threaten to delete others posts. Is that the way Orthodox Christian behave?

          • Nick B

            A.B. did you see my reply before it was deleted. I hope you did. if you did I’m still waiting for a response.

          • A.B

            Nick B. there is no reason for me to add you on Facebook. Thank you for your willingness to talk though. I am fine having a dialogue here. For your post to have been deleted, you must have openly preached or promoted heresy. Ask your question again. I can’t remember it. A few questions for you. Do you believe that Anthony Bulatovitch’s teachings on the Name of God are heretical? As Fr Enoch stated, if you don’t agree with the Russian synod’s condemnation of the heresy, do you agree with Constantinople’s? Or did they get it wrong as well? Did you agree with name worshipping or name glorifying before two years ago? Be honest, had you even heard about it? Please pause and reflect. You seem like a really nice person.

          • Guest

            I not going to reply here! If your truly interested to answer to your question reach me on Facebook. Forgive me but why would I bother responding here just to be deleted.

          • A.B

            This is an open forum. If you fear you will be deleted because of your response then maybe your response is inappropriate. if you answered my questions honestly and appropriately, there would be no reason for you to be deleted.

          • NFTU

            His response is well past inappropriate. I run this site and if I have decided to ban heresy as a general rule I’m not going to be trolled on it.

            My apologies, but he can continue his discussion on Facebook. That said, I’ve seen enough to say goodbye to his contributions.

          • A.B

            The Facebook comment was strange. They are all refusing to condemn Bulatovich publicly because they have been brainwashed into believing his false teachings are true. Look at how many posters including yourself counter their arguments, but they ignore them instead continuing to follow their perverted script. If you don’t condemn the heretic, then you condone them.

          • Guest

            This message is for the “Moderator”: I do not think you know what a moderator is supposed to do. Let me give you the relevant definition.

            moderator |ˈmädəˌrātər| noun1 an arbitrator or mediator:2 a person who moderates an Internet message board or chat room.
            arbitrator |ˈärbiˌtrātər| nounan independent person or body officially appointed to settle a dispute
            Ask yourself truly … Are you a fair moderator given the above defenitions.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden

            Nope! I will treat heretics in a more prejudicial fashion. That said, hasn’t happened here… yet.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden

            Oh, give me a break. A lot of anonymous posts go to spam. I’m not moderating anything.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden

            I haven’t deleted anything. Be silent.

          • NFTU

            Then I guess I’m going to look like a giant chicken because I’m deleting and blocking you.

          • NFTU

            Archbishop Anthony, however, made a clear distinction between God’s energy (used verbally, as “energetic action”) and the energies of God.
            This may sound academic but it touches at the heart of the matter– because it is about the very interaction with the creation you leave undefined, shifting back and forth between Orthodoxy and pantheism… you leave the question of the deification of objects undefined, and there’s the rat.

            I am deleting the references to St Gregory, which you claim your opponents are ignorant of. We are not. I simply won’t allow you to misrepresent their thinking.

            You write: “(By the way, I do not endorse the Sergianism of Vladimir Lossky and Serge Verhovskoy, but I do think that they were important scholars
            of patristics [Lossky attempted to correct Sergius] and that we should not ban all references to the parts of their writings that were genuinely Orthodox.)”

            Convenient! How about the Sophiologist Bulgakov you mentioned as well?

            “Yet, despite the serious errors of 1913, those who
            left HOCNA in September 2012 demanded “unreserved, unqualified, unconditional” official endorsement of the false 1913 decree. That
            condemnation of the Athonite name-glorifiers was extremely controversialamong the Russian Orthodox people in 1913. The way they were hastily condemned and persecuted was widely rejected by the Faithful. ”

            Not really, they weren’t. There was so much chaos at the time, you impugn too much importance to the name-worshippers.

            You write: “The Tsar
            Martyr wrote that he feared the “wrath of God” would come on the Russian
            land because of the 1913 condemnation of the Athonite Fathers. St.
            Elizabeth the Grand Duchess was also a staunch supporter of the
            hastily-condemned monks. St. Elizabeth was more informed on this issue
            than some of the bishops were. The Russian bishops stepped back from the
            extremeness of the 1913 condemnation in various ways and in various
            decisions that permitted a reconciliation without adherence to the false
            1913 decree.”

            Everyone makes mistakes– certainly I assumed you were Orthodox at the beginning of this conversation. There was no reversal. The decisions on name-worshipping were reaffirmed in 1914 and the only “proof” otherwise is a claim of a reversal by Gregory Lurye, of which no contemporary proof can be found.

            You write: “Archbishop Anastasy Gribanovsky (later primate of ROCOR) was on one of the commissions that made a reversal. During World War I, name-glorifying priest-monks served officially as army chaplains. In 1921, St. Tikhon concelebrated with Archimandrite David Mukhranov, who was the leading preacher of name-glorification, and who continued to openly preach that understanding in the Churches of Moscow around the same time he was concelebrating with St. Tikhon. ”

            Regardless of occasional reversals, which we cannot verify were not done through confession of faith, as was specifically done in 1921 with St Tikhon, who simplified the reception of the heretics back into
            Orthodoxy through confession.

            You write: “There was a complete reconciliation because the name-glorifiers did not teach the heresy that some people said was taught in the writings of Fr. Antony Bulatovich, namely that created names are God Himself.”

            A) No, there wasn’t.

            B) You have assigned a unique meaning to “name”. But did Bulatovich? Let’s find out.

            You continue: “The name-glorifiers in their official statement of beliefs (August 1, 1918) wrote of the “inseparablepresence of God in His Name.” Note that, according to this statement, the presence of God is distinct from the created name, but present within it, which is what St. Gregory Palamas says about God “dwelling” in “God-given [created] words.”

            It would be helpful for a fuller quote from St Gregory, say, a sentence. But here is what your Bulatovich has to say:

            “God is unchanging, but also ever-moving. The evermovingness of
            God is expressed in the revelation by Him of the properties of His
            Essence. Before the creation of the angels and men, the action of God
            was turned towards God Himself – ‘and the Word was with God’ (John 1.1).
            But lo! God turned His attention partly also to creatures, and in
            creation He began to show His Divine properties. And, first of all,
            being Himself Light unapproachable, He poured out His Divine Light on
            the ranks of the angels, making them in different degrees light-bearing.
            And this Light by which the angels are radiant – is God Himself. But
            the first-created people shone with a similar Light in Paradise, but the
            fall deprived them of this Light. However, although God deprived man of
            a visible radiance, He did not completely deprive him of the radiance
            of the Light of Truth, and after the fall continued to reveal to men the
            God-revealed truths about Himself by His Holy Spirit through the
            patriarchs and prophets. And finally He shone with the noetic Light of
            Truth in the Sun of Righteousness – His Only-Begotten Son. And so, just
            as the Divine visible Light is the action of the Divine Light and is
            God, so the noetic Light of Truth is the verbal action of God and is God
            Himself. And so, just as the Church recognises the visible Light of
            Tabor to be God and pronounces anathema on those who do not recognise
            this Light to be God, so also the words of God on Tabor, that is the
            naming of Jesus as the ‘Beloved Son’ (Luke 9:35), is also God Himself,
            as being the verbal action of God; and so also in general, every
            God-revealed truth announced to people by the Holy Spirit through the
            prophets and apostles and God-bearing men, and also every truth
            pronounced by the incarnate God and Word, and also every God-moved
            prayer and the Church prayers inspired into the Church by the Holy
            Spirit – are God, for they are the verbal action of God. Consequently
            also, every Name of God, as a God-revealed truth, is God Himself, and
            God exists in them with the whole of His Essence, in accordance with the
            inseparability of His Essence from His actions.”

            As you can clearly see, your hero is not nearly as interested in your distinctions. He seems to make little distinction between the deity and the deified at all.

            You continue: “This is what I believe and, I think,
            what you believe also. What did the name glorifiers say about the energies? “His Name is … energy (as understood according to its inner, mystical aspect and not as mere letters and sounds or some abstract
            idea).” So, it appears they did distinguish the uncreated energies (which they correctly confessed to be “God Himself” from the created words (sounds and letters) which are not God, but which have God
            dwelling in them, as the Church teaches. No one is saying that they expressed everything perfectly. But it is undeniable that the name glorifiers, in their official statement, did make the proper distinction
            between the created names/letters/sounds and the uncreated name/power/energy.

            Again Bulatovich: “And so if the very Name of God
            and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is not God, but a mediating power between
            the priest and God, then of course if the priest has called on the Name of the
            Lord without faith, then it must remain inactive, the sacrament cannot be
            accomplished; but if the Name of God is… God, then even if It is unworthily
            invoked It accomplishes the sacrament through the Divine power inherent in
            it. – To this day the Holy Orthodox Church has believed that the
            Name of God invoked in the sacrament and the very words of the sacraments by
            the power of the Holy Spirit which is inherent in them and inseparable from
            them, as the Word is inseparable from the Father, and the Holy Spirit from the
            Word, accomplish the sacrament. Let us recall the description in the Prologue
            for January 8 of how some children thought of serving the liturgy as a
            joke, and having placed the bread of consecration on a stone and read all the
            appointed prayers, which they evidently knew by heart, there descended fire
            from heaven and burned up both the bread and the stone, while they fell
            unconscious. Let us recall one bishop from the Lives of the Saints, who,
            when he was a child, as a joke baptised some pagan children on the sea-shore,
            and the local hierarch, on hearing this, recognised them all as truly baptised
            and ordered the newly-baptised to be chrismated with the holy chrism. Let us
            remember, finally that at the present time the sacrament of baptism is
            recognised as valid even if performed by a midwife, for the sake of the Name of
            the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that is invoked on the baptised. But if
            we recognise the Name of God to be only a mediating power, then everything that
            has been said will turn out to be impossible, for the Name of God will turn out
            to be only a mediating power between the priest and the Holy Spirit, and the
            priest does not baptise by the Name of God, but only calls on the Holy Spirit.
            And so, of course, the Holy Spirit will not listen to him who calls on Him
            in a not altogether worthy manner, and the sacrament will not be accomplished,
            for the Name of God is not God, but a mediating power between God and man, as
            the name-fighters teach. But we cannot accept this new teaching.
            We recognise the effectiveness of every invocation of the Name of God – whether
            for salvation, or for condemnation, for we believe that the Name of God is
            God Himself. Therefore we believe that the sacraments, even if not accomplished
            altogether worthily, are nevertheless unfailingly accomplished, being
            consecrated by the very Name of God and by prayer and by the sign of the cross
            formed in the shape of the name, forming the Name Jesus Christ.”

            Now, I want you to consider very seriously here. Bulatovich is making a claim unknown to Orthodox history– although he sins in deceiving by saying this is the ancient teaching: that the pronunciation of God’s name empowers and “accomplishes” the sacrament. NOW, we are not talking about the theoretical, but the practical. So NOW, the very basis of the sacrament is no longer God’s testament to us– the promise of faith thatempowers the mystery through His constant presence in the Church– but
            the reduction to the pronounciation of the Name.

            Try as you may, Bulatovich believed in deified letters and sounds, though he may have marginally denied it.

            It’s the only conclusion. The Russian Synod was correct.

          • HmkEnoch

            Does HOCNA also reject the Decision of the Synod of Constantionople that condemned Name-Worship? They perfectly understood Greek, and therefore, St. Gregory Palamas.

          • Thomas Deretich

            These are my personal thoughts only, no one else’s:

            The epistle of Patriarch Germanos to Athos (April 5, 1913) has little theological content. It accuses the monks of confusing that which cannot be confused because they allegedly said the name Jesus was hypostatically united with Him and that the monks claimed that the name Jesus is the self-same Jesus and God and this leads to pantheism. No quotations, no analysis, no exposition of the Orthodox teaching. Just accusations with no evidence whatsoever! The gist of the letter was that Athos should “expel” the monks. This was done quite brutally with bayonets and water cannons, a short while later. If you are aware of the history of the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, you know that Greek and Slavs were fighting over who would control Macedonia and Athos. Some Greeks wanted to expel all Slavs, and some Russians thought that if the Russian authorities removed the “rebels” from the Holy Mountain, then that would prevent a total expulsion of all Slavs. As it turns out the “Russians” who were expelled were disproportionately Ukrainian, and the “Great Russian” monastic authorities had already been very reluctant to ordain them because of ethnic differences. Russian/Ukrainian tensions were a very serious problem on Athos at least until the 1960s and possibly even to this day. There were military and ethnic conflicts that contributed to the immoral way the monks were condemned and persecuted. No wonder the Tsar-Martyr feared the wrath of God because of what the Russian state had done to these monastic fathers. The decision by the Halki “theologians” was written by academicians who had studied in Lutheran faculties of theology in Germany and who believed that biblical miracles were myths, St. Symeon the New Theologian was a monophysite because he believed in deification, the hesychasts were “navel-gazers,” and St. Gregory Palamas himself was a “pantheist.” They replicated what their Lutheran professors taught them. They might have been able to read St. Gregory Palamas, but they did not want to; they hated the hesychast tradition. They were also the ones who wrote the heretical encyclical of 1920 and changed the calendar in 1924. They were a very un-Orthodox lot.

            Patriarch Germanos’s letter to Russia (December 11, 1912) uses epithets (“evil” and “name-theists”) and says that the Russians should use even *harsher* methods on those expelled to Russia (even after the previous bloodshed by the Russian Navy against the Athonites). The main point of the letter was that even repentant monks were banished from the Holy Mountain, FOREVER. The Slavic monks were reduced by about half. The Greek state consolidated control over Athos for the first time in centuries. (Greek troops had just barely entered Thessalonica in Fall 1912 ahead of the Bulgarian troops; and the Sephardic Jewish community together with other ethnic groups outnumbered the Greeks in Salonica at that time. But the Greek state took firm control of Athos; and Thessalonica became a thoroughly Greek city only after the Sephardim were sent to Auschwitz and gassed.) Severe restrictions were placed on new Slavic monks coming to Athos. These restrictions exist in various forms to this day. The above just scratches the surface of the anti-hesychast, ethnic, and political prejudices and rivalries that played significant roles in the hasty and immoral way the monks were condemned, expelled, and brutalized.

            I ask: Exactly which parts of these “synodal decisions” should Orthodox Christians consider endorsing???

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden

            In short, Fr Enoch, “yes”.

          • HmkEnoch

            Is there evidence that the Halki teachers rejected the Biblical Miracles, said St. Gregory was a Pantheist, and claimed that St. Symeon was a monophysite? Or is it just a guilt by association? Are the documents that say the professor at Halki went to Lutheran seminaries to begin with? Could you post them? And, if they did, does this demonstrate they had accepted these heretical propositions and were allowed to teach despite this?

          • Thomas Deretich

            Dear Fr. Enoch,

            I spoke to two seminary graduates today who testified that Old Testament Professor Zaharopoulos (German educated, Halki, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology) “frequently attacked” biblical miracles from the 1960s to the 1980s and that these attacks were widely discussed by the students. Even the seminary janitor said, “That man does not believe in ANYTHING.” He was not ousted because he had a prestigious degree and because he would say different things to different people in different contexts — and his brother was a bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate! His academic career was “safe.”

            Germanos Strenopoulos, the dean of Halki and the lead author of the Halki “Opinion” against the Slavic name-glorifiers on Mount Athos, studied at the Universities of Strasbourg, Lausanne, and Leipzig, receiving his D.Phil. from Leipzig after submitting his dissertation entitled “The Philosophical Theories of Hippolytus.” He was Metropolitan of Seleucia and later Archbishop of Thyateira (resident in London). Very active in ecumenism, the calendar change, etc. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1758-6623.1959.tb01916.x/abstract).

            Fr. Vasileios Stephanides (Germany, Halki), a co-author of the Halki “Opinion” on the Slavic name-glorifiers of the Holy Mountain, was the author of a widely used Greek textbook on church history. The book was also widely criticized for its western methodology. In this textbook he harshly criticized St. Symeon the New Theologian for “mysticism” (ὁ μυστικισμὸς), “erotic expressions” (ἐρωτικὰς ἐκφράσεις), and “certain monophysitism” (βεβαίως ὁ μονοφισιτισμὸς) (Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ Ἱστορία ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς μέχρι σήμερον [Athens, 1948], 430–431).

            Demetrios Balanos (Germany, Athens U, not Halki), wrote of the “morbid mysticism” of hesychast saints such as the great St. Symeon the New Theologian. Panagiotes K. Chrestou, a leading patrologist of modern times, wrote concerning his teacher Balanos’s statement, “All the narrow-mindedness of Neohellenic rationalistic theology is contained within this short sentence” (“Neohellenic Theology at the Crossroads,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 28.1 [1983]: 39–54, citing Demetrios Balanos, Vyzantinoi Ekklēsiastikē Syngrapheis [1951]).

            These Greek academic theologians, some of whom were leading churchmen in the Greek-speaking churches, were thoroughly indoctrinated with anti-hesychast prejudices. These were the type of people who presumed hastily to condemn the name glorifying fathers for “heresies” that they may never have advocated. We do know that the name-glorifiers were correct in their confession that the energeiai (activities/operations/energies) are “God Himself.” We also know that these academic theologians and bishops were far removed from traditional Orthodoxy. That is why this un-Orthodox lot was so quick to condemn the hesychast fathers of their own time on fabricated charges of “pantheism.” The Orthodox Church has spoken: it accepts hesychasm and “Palamism” and it has not accepted into the mind and conscience of the Church the anti-hesychast statements of 1912–1913—Russian statements or Greek statements. Orthodox Christians ignore those missteps and they continually return to the teaching of the Holy Fathers.

          • NFTU

            In short, Fr Enoch, “no”.

            The first listed has nothing to do with the school of Halki’s opinion since he was not a Halki professor but a student. I assume the two seminary graduates would be Metr Ephraim and someone else. The second was the dean of Halki, and you claim was the lead author without proof. Despite his later ecumenical lifestyle in which many were ensnared, he believed in none of the above.

            I find your third candidate interesting because despite my searching for it, I have found only one reference with the title as printed in Google: that of Arch. (now Bishop) Nectarius of the Lamian Synod– doing what? Defending name-worshipping, and of course, Lurye. Even stranger, though his quote is slightly more full, he refers to the same single citation same page.

            The last, by your own admission, was not Halki at all.

            P.S. I will say this– many of the name-worshippers I met in Russia have the same modernistic lack of faith. Your new “brother in Christ” denies that St Nicholas is real. Modernism leads to all sorts of heresies– not just ecumenism.

          • NFTU

            Bishop Photios of Marathon answered on Halki and the Greek Response to Name-Worshipping here. Quite a good read.

            A short while ago two responses to a certain article which was
            published in «Φωνή τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας» in 2005 appeared on a Russian
            website. This article had recently been translated into English and has
            gotten the attention of Name-Worshippers in Russia, who are unknown to
            me and they consider themselves affected by this article. They have
            reached the point of characterizing themselves as followers of the
            teaching of St Gregory Palamas (misinterpreting the things written by
            him) and whosoever opposes the delusion of name-Worshipping, they
            consider as Barlaamites. They resemble the Monophysites who on the one
            hand, called themselves followers of the teaching of St. Cyril of
            Alexandria and on the other hand called the Orthodox, Nestorians.

            http://gocportland.org/photios_reply_to_name-worshippers.html

          • NFTU

            Fr Enoch, see my response below. Thomas is smokescreening with Halki. http://gocportland.org/art_smokescreen_nameworshippers.html

          • Thomas Deretich

            HOCNA has pointed out—correctly—that “name of God” has a double meaning in the Orthodox Church. It can mean a material name that represents God and it can also mean “God Himself.” HOCNA believes that St. John of Kronstadt’s statement, “the name of God is God Himself,” can be understood in a completely Orthodox way. HOCNA’s critics sometimes seem to assume that “name” can only mean a symbol and they have issued condemnations of “heresy” against those who say (correctly) that “name” has a broader meaning in the Bible and the Orthodox Church. The difference between the simplistic and inaccurate attacks against HOCNA and the broader, completely Orthodox position of HOCNA should become evident by comparing the two approaches.

            The bishops of HOCNA have written that, in the Orthodox Church, the “name of God” has both an “inner” meaning and an “outer” meaning. The “outer” meaning is the material sounds and letters that human beings create when they pronounce or write God’s name. This is the material (created) name of God. As such, it would be wrong to deify this created name. It would be wrong to say that it is God. Indeed, in his first writing on this subject (June 6/19, 2012), Metropolitan Ephraim called such a view “heresy.” In numerous writings since his first on this subject, Metropolitan Ephraim has consistently rejected the deification of the material names for God. Those who have accused HOCNA of teaching that created names are God have grossly misrepresenting the clearly and repeatedly articulated position of HOCNA that such a teaching would be wrong and indeed “heresy” if anyone did actually teach it.

            What the bishops of HOCNA have also pointed out is that “name of God” also has a second meaning, an “inner” or non-material meaning. In the Bible, the writings of the Church Fathers, and the prayers of the Orthodox Church, the “name of God” frequently means the “power of God” or the “glory of God” or the “presence of God” or simply “God Himself.” Read 3 Kingdoms (1 Kings) chapter 8, where God tells David that Solomon will build a temple so that God’s name will dwell in it. What dwells in the temple that Solomon built? The “glory” of God shows itself in the temple, and this “glory” is called the “name” of God. Once again, the “name” of God is used to mean “uncreated energy” of God.
            It is widely understood that in the Bible and the Church the “name” of something can mean a symbol for something, but it might also mean the thing itself, the reality or power of the thing. For example, St. Luke wrote that a “crowd of names” (ὄχλος ὀνομάτων, Acts 1:15) gathered in the Upper Room for Pentecost. He was not saying that 120 “designators” walked into that room, but 120 real people gathered there. “Name” in biblical language can mean “reality.” Dictionaries for the Old Testament, New Testament, and early Christian writings demonstrate this beyond dispute. As the leading Greek-English dictionary for the New Testament and other early Christian writings puts it, ὄνομα can mean something “real, a piece of the very nature of the personality whom it designates, expressing the person’s qualities and powers”; the ὄνομα of God can mean “a tangible manifestation of the divine nature” (BDAG, s.v. ὄνομα 711–715, at 712). This dictionary entry confirms what we know from the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church. The “name” of God in the Orthodox Church can mean the “glory” or “power” or “energy” of God. In the Gospel According to St. John (19:1–26), Christ uses “name” of God to mean the active power of God by which He guards and protects the disciples and keeps them united. In his commentary on Christ’s words, St. Cyril of Alexandria writes clearly that “name” of God means the “glory and power of Godhood” (δόξῃ καὶ δυνάμει θεότητος) and is the “energy” (ἐνέργεια) of God that existed before the creation of the world. St. Clement of Rome writes that God’s name is “almighty” (παντοκρατορικῷ, 1 Clement 60.4) and the “author of all creation” (ἀρχέγονον πάσης κτίσεως, 59.3) and that Christians are “obedient” (58.1) to God’s name and “worshipers” (λατεύοντες, 45.7) of His name. The Shepherd of Hermas 91.5, Similitude 9.14, states that God’s name “sustains the whole world” (τὸν κόσμον ὅλον βαστάζει). And the Didache 10.2–3 teaches that God’s name “dwells” in the hearts of Christians. This is the uncreated name/energy of God. The uncreated name is *not* the same as the created names; but, as St. Gregory Palamas affirms, God’s sanctifying grace, which is God Himself, “dwells” in created words, like grace dwells in created icons.

            It is an undeniable fact that “name of God” as used in the Scriptures, patristic writings, and liturgical services of the Church can mean both a created symbol and the uncreated God Himself. Just because the phrase “name of God” can mean both created and uncreated, does not mean that when people in the Orthodox Church use the “name of God” in an ambiguous manner they are confusing the created with the uncreated. Rather, the uncreated name/energy “dwells in” the created names, and therefore the Church frequently uses “name of God” with a double sense. For example, when the Church venerates the “power of the Cross” there is a double reference, both to the created symbol and the uncreated grace that works through the created symbol. Similarly, there is a close connection between the created names for God and the uncreated name/grace that dwells in the created symbols. Therefore the Church frequently refers to “name of God” without always specifying the distinction between the uncreated grace and the created symbol. It is unfair to accuse Orthodox people, who may be simply using the traditional biblical and liturgical terminology, of blurring the Orthodox theological distinction, unless there is proof they actually intended to blur that distinction. In countless writings, HOCNA has always maintained the proper theological distinction. The uncreated name/grace/power/energy dwells in the created names, but the two are not identical. The created names are *not* God, they a type of holy icon. As St. Gregory Palamas summarizes, God dwells in both the created icons and the created words. As HOCNA has said, it would be heresy to claim the created words are God or are to be worshiped as God. It would also be heresy to deny that God dwells in the holy icons and holy words.

          • Dcn Joseph Suaiden

            You are ignoring Bulatovich’s quoted definitions. Instead, you have chosen to restate your position. Bulatovich’s logical conclusions were that the pronunciations of the name made the mysteries effective.

            Is that your position? If so, much of what you wrote above is meaningless.

          • A.B

            Thomas do you agree, better yet, does HOCNA agree with Anthony Bulatovich? You are deflecting here. It is sad to see just how much thought you (and HOCNA Bishops) are putting into a “CONDEMNED” heresy. Trying so hard to prove that the Orthodox Church is wrong and that you guys are right.

            I have posted below the closing statement at the conclusion of the 4th Ecumenical Council:

            “These things, therefore, having been expressed by us with the greatest accuracy and attention, the holy Ecumenical Synod defines that no one shall be suffered to bring forward a different faith, nor to write, nor to put together, nor to excogitate, nor to teach it to others. But such as dare either to put together another faith, or to bring forward or to teach or to deliver a different Creed to as wish to be converted to the knowledge of the truth, from the Gentiles, or Jews or any heresy whatever, if they be Bishops or clerics let them be deposed, the Bishops from the Episcopate, and the clerics from the clergy; but if they be monks or laics: let them be anathematized.”

            Therefore, these decrees are binding on ALL Orthodox Christians. Bishops cannot pick and choose what they want to agree or disagree with. We must all accept what the Church has condemned.

            Thomas, Nick B and others, please accept the teachings of the Church and not men. Love Our Saviour above everyone else.

          • NFTU

            Please answer to whether you agree with or condemn Bulatovich’s words.

            I’ve already deleted the ad for the HOCNA heresy site. The longer you refuse to answer questions about your own beliefs on condemned heretics rather than try to impugn their judges, the more I will delete these posts.

            My patience for the active defense of heresy on NFTU is incredibly then and I’ve gone more than far enough.

          • A.B

            All I can say is Wow! After reading Bulatovitch’s own words, HOCNA has no choice, but to publicly condemn his teachings as heretical. They are essentially justifying Protestantism and everyone who claims to have a “personal” relationship with Jesus and who only call upon the name of Jesus in their prayers. WOW!

          • A.B

            Thomas is doing a great job of showing us just how much the Name of God is present in the services etc. I don’t think anyone disputes the usage of the word. The problem here is with the meaning. When I hear “In The Name of the Father…” I automatically think in “reverence” or “honour” of the Father. Doing something in someone’s name is doing it in their memory or honour. I notice a lot of writing and talking about the Name of God specifically, that it makes me think of the Protestant reformation. Many Protestant denominations focus on one aspect of the Bible and Christianity and make that the core of their beliefs. I feel that this is what is happening here without many realizing it. We are Traditional Orthodox Christians, not “Traditional Orthodox Christians of the Name.” This glaring error needs to be recognized by all here. We worship “Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” not “Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Name of God.” The counter argument will be that the name is included with the Father or Son, but clearly the Name is being dissected and focused on in a way that the Orthodox Church has never before seen. At least not since it was condemned 100 years ago.

            In the end, this focus has been condemned by “The Church” meaning it is binding and cannot be reversed. Modern day theologians or even Bishops cannot claim that the Church was wrong in its condemnation. How are these people above the Church? Exactly, they are not. If the Holy Spirit was present during these Councils, which the Church teaches us is the case, how then did the Holy Spirit err in this case? Even if St John of Kronstadt wrote that the Name of God is God himself, he is not alive to defend what he meant by it. Therefore, we shouldn’t reason that it must have meant what HOCNA or Bulatovitch believe it meant. We should not use this as a reason to recreate what the Church has always taught. Let us all refocus on what we know the Church teaches and not what men believe it taught 1900 or 2000 years later.

            In addition, one poster above mentioned some quotes from Fr. Haralambos and how his past writings are in favour of this heresy, but there is nothing in his quotes that state that the name of God is God Himself. It is being used as a designation or in reverence of the Father. We cannot assume that anyone who has written about the Name of God or has capitalized it is in line with this new teaching.

            Also, this nonsense about not worshipping individual letters or sounds is deceiving. It is just another misdirection. No one says that name worshipping is about worshipping individual letters or sounds. It is about deifying the Name of God. It is about equating the Name of God to God himself. Don’t allow their language or strange reasoning to fool you.

            If people in HOCNA want to know for a fact that they are not espousing the name worshipping heresy, ask their Bishops to state in writing that they condemn Anthony Bulatovitch and his teachings. People like Dani will get a better picture of whether or not their Bishops are preaching heresy.

  • Boston

    HTM translations use Edwardian English for their idiom, the solemnity of which partly accounts for the translations’ appeal. The capitalization of the “Name” would be consistent with that. As evidence, “Name” is capitalized here in a Victorian edition of the Book of Common Prayer: http://bit.ly/17iRWf1 Of course, this by no means makes the British Crown name-worshippers, as “Name” could be capitalized simply for being holy, not as something that is the essence or energy of God.

    As to the addition of the word “name” in the above example, I would agree that is far less defensible, as the word name appears nowhere in the Greek text. The translator probably would claim that he added it to match the meter of the Greek prosomion (‘oi-kos tou ef-ra-‘tha) while avoiding the awkwardness of ending a phrase with “and”. Still, that is weak, especially considering how well and accurately the rest of the hymn is translated. Why introduce a word with theologically controversial implications when it does not even exist in the Greek to begin with? Barring a better alternative metrically, better just to say “Sa-a-vior” and not misrepresent the original hymn.

    (Footnote: I like “willed” in the 2005 better than “was well pleased” in the 1986 for eudokesanti. Both are possible translations of the word with biblical attestations (Thes 2:8 for willed/was willing), but “willed” makes more sense here, as we are thanking the Savior for “willing” this be done, not for simply being well pleased with it).

    • Dani

      I asked about the change in translation thing some time before this Name controversy. I was told it was an attempt to better fit the meter.

      • Joseph

        Just because they tell you that Dani, doesn’t mean it is what they truly intended. It seems too convenient a mistranslation. It also fits this new ideology of theirs. Weird!

        • Dani

          Just because you think you’re right doesn’t mean you are. Clearly my debate skills are lacking, but my faith in God isn’t. Also, I have never had any reason to doubt this most sincere person in all the years I’ve known him. In the end, all will be proven by their fruits.

          It never ceases to amaze me the stones that are cast here…amaze and sadden.

      • NFTU

        They had been in discussions with the Imyabozhists since 2003.

        • Dani

          As I said, I lack debate skills, but I know my synod to be correct. I don’t worship sounds, neither has anyone encouraged me to. Neither have I found it on the text. Neither have I seen the translations reflect this. If this had been a problem since 2003, surely we would have heard something beyond the stone throwing at the Elder.

          • NFTU

            Vladimir Moss had been proclaiming this far and wide for almost 10 years. NFTU has been talking about it for almost three years as it became more open. HOCNA is very good at keeping their flocks unaware, and this is why it didn’t become public until a massive internal rupture. None of you could hear us from outside HOCNA.

          • Dani

            This whole name thing is wearing thin. You are standing on one side of the fence yelling “Name worshipping is bad. Don’t do that!” And we are on the other side of the fence yelling “Name worshipping is bad. We DON’T do that”. The only problem is that you don’t hear us.

            I am so tired of the semantics that I am going to stand in a corner with my fingers in my ears chanting “I’m not listening!”

            Better yet, I think I’ll go stand in a corner whispering “Kyrie eleison”. I’m pretty sure He will straighten this out some day.

          • NFTU

            You write: “I am so tired of the semantics that I am going to stand in a corner with my fingers in my ears chanting “I’m not listening!””

            Having been in HOCNA it is often suggested to “stop paying attention” to malcontents who wish to “slander” HOCNA and “the elder”. I get that what we are saying is frustrating.

            I am going to try to simplify: You are adhering to an imaginary paradigm that HOCNA has created. NO Orthodox believes that God’s Name is God. ALL Orthodox believe God is His Essence and His Energies. HOCNA denies believing God’s Name is His Essence.

            But we didn’t say “NO Orthodox believes that God’s Name is His Essence”. We said “NO Orthodox believe God’s name is God”. The belief that God’s Name is His Energies *is still a false belief*.

            The appeal to emotion is therefore, I’m sorry, false, whether intentional or unintentional. We aren’t accusing HOCNA of something it doesn’t teach. We are quite specific: believing God’s Name is either Essence or Energy is *still* a false teaching.

          • Joseph

            Forgive me Dani! I wasn’t trying to cast stones nor do I think I’m right about anything. Lately they have fallen in love with this idea of God’s name. I was merely pointing out this is too convenient that it was a mistranslation.

          • Anonymous

            What Elder?

            If you understand the meaning of an Elder, you would not use that word.

  • John Collis

    This really gives me the creeps. Such deception over an extended period of time. It all feels like Ezekiel 8 to me – a façade of Faith with hidden abominations.

  • disqus_onCYiXw65p

    Mr. Deretich repeats his arguments that HOCNA is not preaching the heresy of Name Worshipping, which arguments circle about the accusations without giving a sound, dogmatic answer, while making a complete hash of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which only Name Worshippers would be so ignorant of Orthodoxy to believe. He also does not explain the physical proof of HOCNA’s distorting their translations to reflect Name Worshipper’s doctrine’s. Anthony Bulatovich was also proven to have done the same to patristic and biblical texts.

    The Name Worshippers / Glorifiers claim: “All the Fathers say that the Name of God is an Energy of God”. But they never give the quotation or reference, because no Father has ever said that “the Name of God is an Energy of God”.

    Nowhere in any of the Old or New Testament Scriptures, nowhere in the Prophets and Apostles, nowhere in any of the Fathers and Great Theologians of the Church is there any expression or doctrine of the existence of an uncreated name. God has no name; indeed He is unnamable for He cannot be limited or comprehended and is ineffable. He alone is uncreated. A name is an intellectual process obviously created in the material mind of man by bioelectrical energy and expressed either in writing or sound in the air. It has no other existence: it is the creation of a creation.

    Names have been understood, described, and explained as being of a created nature by all the saints and great Fathers, especially by St. Dionysius the Areopagite, the Three Hierarchs, Ss. Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus and Gregory Palamas. God does not need words to communicate with man.

    The doctrine of uncreated names is found in Platonic, Gnostic, Cabalistic, Talmudic and Magic teachings, but has not only never been accepted or taught by the Church of God, it has been anathematized many times.

    Another claim of theirs is that they alone really know and understand St. Gregory Palamas. In fact, they do not understand him, but also do not know his writings. If they quoted him, they would see that he overturns their doctrines, because he follows the Fathers of the Church.

    St. Gregory Palamas concludes, along with St. Dionysius the Areopagite and St. Maximus the Confessor, whom he quotes, that God’s Energies are uncreated. St. Gregory proves this in his many works, with quotations from the Scriptures and the Fathers. He calls them “God’s inherent and essential energies, which are uncreated”. [St. Gregory, 150 Chapters in the Philokalia #92] How can a created name be an Energy of God?

    The divine omnipresence is also an Energy of God. He sustains the creation, He is everywhere in it, yet not bound or limited by it, or identified with it. Creation and the uncreated divinity can never be confused. [Ibid, #104]

    St. Gregory, quoting St. Dionysius: “‘The creative procession and energy whereby God creates individual essences’ [Divine Names, 5:1] loosely and inexactly named from all things since it contains all things in itself.” No name is an energy. [Ibid, #105]

    “Grace, here distinguished from the Divine Nature, is not created, for no one would suppose a created thing to be the Nature of God”. Isn’t a name created? Here St. Gregory Palamas is commenting on a quote from St. John Chrysostom. [Ibid, #108].

    St. Gregory the Theologian says, “He is ‘Christ’ the anointed on account of the Divinity; for it is the Divinity that anoints His human nature”. [Theological Oration, 4, 21]

    St. Gregory Palamas says, “Creation is the single work of the Trinity, no hypostasis has His own particular effect. The Divine Energy is one and the same for all Three: One God: They do not possess an individual power or will or individual energy. There is one impersonal power”. [St. Gregory, 150 Chapters in the Philokalia #112] If the energy is personal or has a name, we introduce a fourth person into the Trinity. Since this newly named person must exist from eternity, as they do, and since it has a name, it has its own existence. What of the many Divine Names, as the Holy Fathers call them? Do we then have many gods as do the idolators? If this name has its own existence, it is equal to the Trinity, contrary to what Mr. Deretich declares.

    “Divinity is also an appellation of the Divine Energy, according to the theologians”, says St. Gregory Palamas. Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky and the 1913 Russian Synod based their position on this quotation. Yet, Anthony Bulatovich’s followers declared this statement to be heretical.

    If the name Jesus is uncreated, as the Name Worshippers say, then this name existed before creation. It is then a creation which God did not will to create, nor did create. God did not say, “I will create My Name, and it will make the world”.

    If the existence of the Name is before all eternity in God’s foreknowledge, as the new Name Worshippers claim, then since He foreknew all things, all creation existed before eternity and before being created. The foreknowledge of God differs from His Will and His creative Energies. If He did not will this creation, then God is a creator in spite of Himself, unwillingly. In such a case creation is Divine since it is before all
    eternity, although unwilled, then there is no difference between created and
    uncreated, “for only God is uncreated”. This is clearly pantheism.

    St. Dionysius the Areopagite declares, “…in Scripture, all the names appropriate to God are praised regarding the whole, entire, full, and complete Divinity, rather than any part of it. They all refer indivisibly, absolutely, unreservedly, and totally to God in His entirety…Indeed, as I pointed out in my Theological Representations, anyone denying that such terminology refers to God in all that He is may be said to have blasphemed. He is profanely daring to sunder absolute unity”. [Divine Names, 2:1] The words, “all the names appropriate to God are praised regarding the whole, entire, full, and complete Divinity” and “they all refer…to God”, and “such terminology refers to God”, proves that the Fathers do not consider the Divine Names to be the Divine
    Energies, but human labels and names and terms for the Ineffable.

    Name Worshippers / Glorifiers do not follow the doctrines of the Holy Fathers, and reject their doctrines and explications. Their “sainted” founder, Anthony Bulatovich declared that any one who did not accept his doctrines was a heretic, and outside the Orthodox Church. I am glad that I would be considered a heretic by them.

    • Thomas Deretich

      Dear GeorgeT49,

      You have stated some of your sincere beliefs very clearly, and you deserve a detailed response, based on the Scriptures and Fathers. You ask, “How can a created name be an Energy of God?” The answer: It cannot. A created name cannot be an uncreated energy of God. We all agree!

      But there is another question: Does God’s uncreated grace “dwell in” the created names for God? The Orthodox Church says, “Yes!” We should all be able to agree on St. Gregory Palamas’s Confession of Faith in which he confesses that God’s sanctifying grace, which is the Creator himself, “dwells” in “God-given” (theoparádota) but created “sayings/oracles/words/scriptures” (logia) as He also dwells in the saints, relics, icons, church temples, sacred vessels, etc. Here is St. Gregory’s Confession of the Orthodox Faith:

      “we worship relatively [προσκυνοῦμεν σχετικῶς] 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 [we worship relatively] 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 [we worship relatively] the saving figure of the honored Cross, the divine temples and places and the sacred vessels and the God-given sayings [θεοπαράδοτα λόγια, oracles, words, Scriptures], because of the God Who dwells [ἐνοικοῦντα] 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 from the Master’s body during the three days” (St. Gregory Palamas, Confession of the Orthodox Faith 4, ΔΣΜ 1:344, CCF 1:337).

      St. Gregory’s Confession of the Orthodox Faith was submitted to the great Council of Constantinople of 1351, and approved by the council, and is usually attached to the long doctrinal definition issued by the council. This is the council that is so important for the consensus of the Orthodox Church that it is sometimes referred to as the Ninth Ecumenical Council. I hope we can all agree on the above: God’s grace/power/energy dwells in created words like in created saints or created icons.

      That leaves another question: Is the phrase “name of God” sometimes used as a synonym of “power of God” or “energy of God” or “presence of God”? The answer: Yes, undeniably, it is sometimes used that way in the Orthodox Church. The Old Testament sometimes uses the phrase that way. In 3 Kingdoms in the Septuagint Old Testament (=1 Kings in Hebrew) it is God’s “name” and “glory” (=energy) that fills the newly-built Solomonic temple. In the Psalms, the “name” of God is equated with the “power” of God that can “defend” a person and “judge and vindicate” him or “do [him] justice” (Psalms 43, 53, etc., Septuagint). For example, Septuagint Psalm 53:1[3] (=Hebrew Psalm 54:1[3]): “O God, save me by your name, and judge [=vindicate] me by your power” (ὁ θεός ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου σῶσόν με καὶ ἐν τῇ δυνάμει σου κρῖνόν με). In this Psalm, “name” and “power” are synonyms. Christ also used “name” of God as synonymous with “glory” of God and “authority/power” of God in John 17. According to St. John Chrysostom the “name” of God (in Christ’s prayer in John 17) means the “help” that God gives the disciples. According to Blessed Theophylact of Ohrid, “name” (in Christ’s words) means the “help” from God and the “power” of God that protects the disciples. Christ also speaks of the “truth” of God doing what the “power” and “name” of God do: namely, guard and protect the disciples and keep them united. St. Cyril of Alexandria writes many pages (on John 17) about how the glory, authority, power, might, grace, name , and truth are the “energy/activity/action” of “Godhead” that the Father and the Son share from before the creation of the cosmos. He also comments that the Father and Son and Spirit communicate this energy to the disciples to guard them, protect them from the power of the Devil, and to keep them united. Over many pages, St. Cyril shows that “keep them in Your name” is equivalent to “guard/protect/safeguard the disciples by Your glory/power/name of Godhood.” St. Cyril also uses “energy words” like “acting in the action” and associates this “energy/activity” with “attributes” of Godhood and “exercise [of divine] power.” St. Cyril anticipates the language used by later Councils and Fathers, like St. Gregory Palamas, in remarkable ways for the early fifth century! Let me quote only one of many such passages from St. Cyril:

      “We are bound, therefore, to think that, if He had protected them hitherto in the name given Him by the Father, that is, in the glory of Godhead, for He ‘gave unto Him the name which is above every name’; and if He wishes the Father Himself also to protect them in the name given unto Him, He will not be excluded from acting in the action; for the Father will keep those who are knit to Him by faith through the agency of the Only-begotten, Who is His power and might. For He will not exercise His power in any way save through Him. Then, if even in the flesh He protected them, by the power and glory of His Godhead, how can we think that He will fail to think His disciples worthy of the mercy which they need; and how can they ever lose His sure support while the Divine power of the Only-begotten abideth evermore, and the power which is His by Nature is for ever firmly established? For that which is Divine admits of no variance at all, or of any change into any evil agency, but shines forth for ever in those attributes which belong to it eternally.”

      As we can see above, using “name of God” to mean “uncreated power/energy of Godhood” is not limited to St. Clement of Alexandria, who wrote of “the author-of-all-creation name” (τὸ ἀρχέγονον πάσης κτίσεως ὄνομα). The Old Testament, the New Testament, the Fathers, and the prayers of the Orthodox Church do sometimes use “name of God” to mean “energy of God.” This does not mean that Orthodox Christians are confusing the Creator with the creation. Rather, “name” in ancient Greek can mean both a “symbol” for something and it can also mean “the thing itself,” or the “glory” of the thing, or the “power” of the thing; in other words, the “reality” of something, like when St. Luke said a “crowd of names” (=real persons) gathered in the Upper Room. Like many words, “name” in ancient Greek has a range of meanings. The “name of God” can mean a created symbol and it can also mean the “uncreated power/energy” of God.

      In summary: The created names for God are not the power of God, not the energy of God, not God, not God Himself. No one is claiming that the created names for God are God’s energy. (I know of no evidence that anyone who calls himself a traditional Orthodox Christian today “secretly” believes this either.) The Orthodox Church does teach that God fills and dwells in his created names. The created names are distinct from God, but God dwells in them. God is present everywhere and fills all created things. And God “dwells” especially in sacred, created things: in the saints, angels, relics, the Cross, the Gospel, icons, vestments and vessels, and “God-given [created] words/sayings” (θεοπαράδοτα λόγια.) Additionally, in the Holy Scriptures, Fathers, and prayers of the Orthodox Church, the “name of God” sometimes can have a meaning different from “mere created name.” Sometimes in the Holy Scriptures, Fathers, and prayers of the Church “name of God” means “God’s uncreated power/energy,” or means “God the Son,” and or means “God Himself.” When Christ says that God’s name guards and protects the disciples and keeps them united and safe from the power of the Devil, He means God’s glory/power/name/energy does this. St. Cyril of Alexandria makes an explicit equation between energy and truth, glory, power, and name in his commentary on Christ’s words in John 17:1–26. St. Clement of Rome calls the name of God the “author of all creation” or “primal source of all creation” or “that which gave existence to all creation.” He is speaking about the uncreated power of God, which he calls “the author-of-all-creation name.” In other words, when he wants to refer to the uncreated power/energy of God, he calls it the “the author-of-all-creation name,” which means “uncreated name/power.” St. Clement says Christians are obedient to that name and are worshipers (λατρευόντες) of that name (meaning worshipers of God’s power/energy). He means Christians are obedient to and worship God Himself. The Shepherd of Hermas says Gods’ name “sustains the whole world.” The Didache says God’s name “dwells” in the hearts of Christians. It is—undeniably—God’s power that gave existence to all creation and sustains the whole world and dwells in the hearts of Christians. Therefore, “name of God” does sometimes mean “uncreated power/energy” of God. This is distinct from the material words (created names) which we use to designate God. But God dwells in and works through those created names. In other words: the uncreated power of God (which is sometimes called the [uncreated] name of God) dwells in the created, material names that symbolize God, and sometimes works miracles through those created names, as God’s power sometimes works miracles through the created holy icons. This is not mechanical or magical, but is based on God’s providence and man’s openness to God’s grace.

      No Orthodox Christian should agree with Sergius of sorry memory’s false 1913 claim that the divine energies “may” be called God if we speak “more broadly than is normal” and that the divine energies are “not God, let alone God Himself.” (Under Lossky’s influence, even Sergius may have renounced his earlier error. Why should we, today, then perpetuate Sergius’s error, by defending his false statements of 1913?) Rather, we can all affirm, with St. Gregory Palamas, that “every power or energy [of God] is God Himself.” As far as the Greek decrees of 1912–1913 go, there was a widespread prejudice against hesychasm by the theologians of both Halki and Athens of that time period. The infamous ecumenist Germanos Strenopoulos and the infamous anti-hesychast Vasileios Stephanides were indeed authors of the Halki “Opinion.” [[See Germanos P. Strenopoulos (Dean of Halki Theological Academy), Ioannes Eustratios, Archimandrites Georgiades, Vasileios Stephanides, Vasileios Antoniades, and Panteleon Komnenos, «Γνωμοδοτησις του συλλογου των θεολογων καθηγητων περι της εσχατως εμφανισθεισης εν Αγιω Ορει παρα τοις ρωσσοις μοναχοις καινοφανους διδασκαλιας περι της θεοτητος του ονοματος “Ιησους.” Κατ’ εντολη της αγιοις και ιερας Συνοδου,» Εκκλησιαστικη Αληθεια, ετος λγʹ, αριθ. 16 (April 20, 1913): 123–125. Russian translation in Troitskii, Об Именах Божних iii–v; Khrapovitskii, Святое Православие 33–36; and Сборник документов 12–15.]]

      By following what Christ and Christ’s saints say about the uncreated power of God, we have no reason to disagree on what “name of God” means. The “name of God” can sometimes mean “created symbol in which God dwells” and it can sometimes mean “uncreated power of God Himself.” Therefore, St. John of Kronstadt’s teaching, “the name of God is God Himself,” can be understood in an Orthodox sense. We would do best to accept this great saint’s teaching in accordance with those before him who used “name of God” as synonymous with “God Himself.” By anathematizing St. John of Kronstadt, we would also be anathematizing Christ Himself, Who, in the Gospel of St. John, used “name” of God to mean “power” of God. I, for one, do not want to anathematize Christ for using “name” in a way that is broader than how some modern people think “name” should be used. I will stick with the broad usage of the saints for 3,000 years.

      • NFTU

        Edit: Thomas, I shall address a single line of a carefully crafted, but somewhat deceptive conclusion.

        “I hope we can all agree on the above: God’s grace/power/energy dwells in created words like in created saints or created icons.”

        They *can*. That does not mean they of necessity *do*.

        As you continue to shift statements and give long answers to unasked questions while avoiding answering the questions of others, I will block and delete your responses.

        It’s my responsibility as editor to watch for the good of the forum, and like many before you, to occasionally resort to such methods to remind you that NFTU is not a place to advertise a heresy. Thanks!

  • GeorgeT49

    Reply to Mr. Tom Deretich, no.2

    Name-worshippers love to quote St. John Kronstadt: “the name of God is God Himself” and “you have in that name all the essence of the Lord” (My Life In Christ, pg. 359, St. Petersburg, 2001). Later, however, St. John explains that his understanding of these expressions, is founded upon the patristic theology of the Church and not on the ravings of Anthony Bulatovich. The Saints’ words from ‘My Life In Christ’, pp. 467-468: “Since the Lord is everywhere present, His Cross works miracles, His name works miracles, His Icons are wonderworking”. “Since we are of flesh, the Lord attaches His presence, so to speak, and His very self with creation… He attaches Himself to the Temple, to the Icons, to the sign of the Cross, to His name composed of articulated sounds, with holy water, with the sanctified bread, wheat and wine… but there shall come a time when all the visible signs shall not be necessary, and we shall partake of Him more intensely then, ‘in the unwaning day of His Kingdom’, where as now only through the medium of the flesh and through Icons and signs”.

    First, the Saint well comprehends the basic understanding of God, held for more than three thousand years by the Church: God is omnipresent. The invocation that begins Orthodox services of prayers is the proclamation of this doctrine: “Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, O Treasury of every good and Bestower of life: come and dwell in us, and cleanse us from every stain, and save, O Good One, our souls”. God is present everywhere, filling and interpenetrating all things, with no limit or bound, entirely free and unapproachable. He, God Himself, both the essence and the indivisible energy, operations, activity, and attributes, which are the uncreated glory in which He the uncreated God dwells; He is throughout us and in us: in the air we breathe and the food we eat and the raiment we wear and the blood that courses in our veins. He dwells in light unapproachable, i.e., we cannot touch or force Him: He is free and absolute and transcendent. Nothing can touch Him unless He will it. His will – one of His uncreated energies – can grant a grace to or effect a creature, but only at His volition. He is ‘ο ἐνεργών, (ho energon) while creation is τὸ ενεργούμενον, (to energoumenon), i.e. He is the energizer while creation is that which is energized. The energizer effects but is not affected by that which is energized; He remains inviolate, for He is uncreated and eternal, unchanging and ever the same. Only the creation is changeable, and never can the two ever be intermingled or confused.

    St. John of Kronstadt makes this understanding clear by saying that God is everywhere, and He sanctifies them, who through various mediums, approach Him. This was the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which stated that we do not deify the medium – Icons, names, the Cross, etc – but our worship passes over and reaches the Divinity to attract His grace. It is obvious that the Saint considers the mediums as means created by mankind, which direct our attention and prayers to the prototype, Who, if He desires, can respond with His grace. St. John lists “name” along with the Church building, Icons, holy water, the Cross, etc (all of which are creations of man), where God Himself is approached and His grace can be received; he follows the decisions of the Seventh Council. There is no mention or hint of an uncreated name or of pantheism. St. John did not preach name-worshipping. Another quote from St. John of Kronstadt, that the name-worshippers like to ignore is: “Let not the heart weak in faith think that the Cross or the name of Christ act of themselves, or that this Cross and this name of Christ produces miracles when I do not look with the eyes of my heart or with the faith of Christ”. (Sergieff, John I. (1897) My Life in Christ. (E.E. Goulaeff, Trans.). Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery (1971). p. 23.

    This quote from St. John of Kronstadt shakes the very foundation of the name-worshippers doctrine. It is clear that St. John was not a name-worshipper, but only said that “the name of God, is God Himself” in the context of prayer and not as an identity or in a literal sense.

    Anthony Bulatovich’s writings clearly and explicitly preach that the letters of God’s name are God Himself, as is also the spoken word. His modern followers preach the same as their ‘sainted’ founder. But when they are challenged because they are preaching the ludicrous doctrines of an uncreated creation, or of pantheism, they speedily demur, saying, “No one could ever be so illogical” (and Bulatovich rolls over in his grave). Such a tactic is common among heretics; they deny anything which is pointed out as being senseless or foreign to the Faith. They then send up a smokescreen of obfuscations, and then invent an even worse heresy; in this instance, the uncreated name. Some facets of this error have been mentioned above, but this same error has been condemned in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy and by all the Fathers, who have condemned the Platonic, Gnostic, Talmudic, Cabalistic pagan teachings in their entirety.

    The name-worshippers exhibited a very poor taste in saints when they canonized Anthony Bulatovich. He was an arrogant, ambitious man who used violence to take over monasteries, evict monks and plunder their goods (see the many contemporary reports in the newspapers of the time especially ‘Ekklesiastike Aletheia’ of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In order to forestall local authorities from dealing forcibly with the problems, the Patriarchate begged the Russian government to intervene so that there could be no doubt of injustice, since the Patriarchates were dependent on Russia for protection from the Turks and Mamelukes. Bulatovich, who used the sword of violence, died by the sword, according to our Saviour’s words. He was killed by robbers in 1919, (shortly after rejecting communion with the Church for the second time). In any case, when controversy arises, the name-worshippers publicly reject the extremes of their founder; but when on fresh ground or privately, they repeat the old Bulatovichian doctrines. He believed that the Mysteries of the Church are accomplished by the invocation of God’s name. Baptism was in the name of Christ; and the change of the elements in Holy Communion was already accomplished in the proskomide, when the Lamb is excised from the offered bread. Of course, the modern followers might try to deny it, but they are trapped in the chains of their tradition and their attempts to explain and cover up.

    One question arises from reading their writings is that the modern name-worshippers never say what name is the divine name. Hilarion and Bulatovich were definite: Hilarion said the name was “Jesus”, while Bulatovich declared that every word in the Gospel was God Himself, even when spoken aloud; wherefore, he was accused of Pantheism. Their present day followers usually say “the name of God is God Himself”, but do not elaborate. Perhaps they fear that they will be accused of declaring created letters and sounds to be divine. In any case, they now are at odds with their purportedly “sainted” founders. What do they mean? The name of God is a name? The name of God is the name? The name God is name? This obscurantism allows them to deny any Orthodox objection and to confuse the issue with pages of ambiguous verbiage, like squids escaping in a cloud of ink.

    After giving many quotations, declaring that the power, might, and glory of God protect and save mankind; then tacking on others wherein Mr. Deretich defines, that “in the name” means the same thing, he concludes that St. Cyril of Alexandria says that “the glory, authority, power, might, grace, name, and the truth are the ‘energy/activity/action’ of ‘Godhead that the Father and the Son share”. He then quotes a long passage from St. Cyril, as proof.

    In the first part of this quotation, the Saint quotes the Scriptures, Philippians 2:9, “and gave Him a name which is above every name”. This signifies that He is given authority as the Son and Word of God: that Father and Son are of one essence. The Saint later on discusses Christ God’s protection of His disciples, in the “exercise [of] His power”, “by the power and glory of His Godhead”, etc. There is no identification of “name” and “power and glory”, except in Mr. Deretich’s mind. The Saint’s commentary on this scripture and the others, concerns the unity of the Father’s and Son’s essence and will. Mr. Deretich also mentions St. Clement of Rome, who when he wishes to refer to the uncreated power of God, he calls it the name of God. However, there is no statement that the name of God is an energy of God. In any case, these quotations are not from the only received genuine work of St. Clement: the Epistle to the Corinthians.

    Mr. Deretich presents a passage in III Kings (no more exact reference is given), when Solomon consecrated the Temple, saying that it is God’s “name and glory (=energy) that fills the newly-built Solomonic Temple”. Here is the verse in question (8:10), “And it came to pass when the priests departed out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house. (8:11) And the priests could not stand to minister before the cloud, because the glory of the Lord filled the house”. There is no equivalence of glory and name mentioned or implied.

    In III Kings 9:3 “to put my name there (the Temple) for ever”, is meant figuratively, which is proved as the sentence continues: “mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually”. If “name” is meant literally, then we must conclude that God has physical eyes and heart.

    The tactic in these paragraphs is to present a number of Scriptural or patristic quotations mentioning “name” of God, with others, concerning “the glory, the power, activity, energy, operation, attributes of God”, and mixing them together so as to imply an equivalence which is simply not there; in fact most of their interpretations of the meaning of “name”, do not agree with that of most interpreters and translators. Proximity does not indicate equivalence, and even that is lacking here. We can only conclude that Mr. Deretich is, well, lying. Here, at least, he is showing himself to be a faithful follower of Bulatovich.

    Again, this statement is introduced by Mr. Deretich, “name in ancient Greek can mean both a ‘symbol’ for something and it can also mean the thing itself” and it continues in a similar vein. True, a name can mean or signify or be a ‘symbol’ for something, that is, “the thing itself”. Since this is the definition for “name”, this is hardly a statement of great sagacity and even necessary. (Please explain how “something” or “the thing itself” differ?). It has never been believed, certainly not in the Church, that the name is the thing itself. We cannot drink out of the word “glass”. Nor eat the name “apple”. Nor will the word “lion” rip and tear us to pieces. Words which name something are not the thing named, as experience teaches us and as the Patriarchal decision of 1912 proclaimed. We can be starving but a grocery list will not feed us. A leopard will not change spots if we call him a panther. Names are human labels applied to physical objects or concepts so that we may communicate and understand our experience of creation. God did not name the animals, but Adam did. (Genesis 2:19, “The Lord God… brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof). It is an illogical and false thesis and conclusion to say “the name of x is n, therefore n is x”. It is not a direct predication or equivalence. Rather we must understand that when we say “we are calling x by the name n”, (we are calling this beast (x) with the name lion (n) is what we mean. It is not a reversible predication nor equivalence. We are applying a conceptual generalization of a species, an abstraction, composed of thought and words of a rarefied matter as a label to a very concrete, material animal. Man has been called the creature, which abstracts, generalizes and names. Names are man made, and the lion couldn’t care less what we call it, just as long as we don’t shoot it.

    Gregory Lourie has called such thinking “crassly nominalistic”. Unfortunately for him, it is the pragmatic doctrine of the Church and the way most of mankind thinks. However, he is the scion of Cabalistic ancestors, and appears to share in their magic mentality.

    With all of their mixing of supposed quotations from the Fathers and Scriptures, which bear the word “name” and juxtaposing them with others which have the words “power or energy or activity”, etc., they declare an equivalence or identity upon no basis and with no hard references. We have seen, how they have misrepresented many of them, so that what they declare as fact cannot be trusted. They consistently violate logical and religious sense in their interpretations, so that their propositions and premises result in unfounded conclusions.

    We later have some more juggling with history from Mr. Deretich. The name of the unfortunate Bishop Sergius (later Patriarchal locum tenens), is associated with the 1913 Synodal decision by insinuation, since the modern name-worshippers consistently refer to “the 1913 decision”. Sergius was not on the Synod and he certainly wrote against name-worshipping at other times besides 1913. This attempt to blacken the Synodal decision by association with Sergius, who broke much later under pressure by the communists is simply dishonest. Also, attempts to blacken Halki, thereby blackening the Ecumenical Patriarchate as being anti-Palamite, is pitiful. Certainly, the Encyclical of the Orthodox Patriarchs answering the Pope of Rome in 1895 was a model of Orthodoxy. In just a few years had everything changed? The Patriarchal decision of 1912, which is available on line in English and in the Synodal decision of 1913, praises the prayer of Jesus and hesychasm. Most had not attended western schools, but were instructed in the traditional Church schools where they read and learned Church Greek from reading the Fathers. They certainly knew of St. Gregory Palamas, for the Synodicon of Orthodoxy was read annually, and its history was part of the curriculum. In any case, calling “Infamous Germanos P. Strenopoulos? It was after his repose in 1920 that ecumenistic statements were made. “Archimandrite Vasileios Stephanides”? He was a deacon then, from Athens, to which he returned and had probably not yet studied abroad. The last two names are not archimadrites, but laymen; Mr. Deretich is mixing his time periods and facts.

    After the 1920’s, with the destruction of Asia Minor and its schools, and finally the closure of Halki in 1956, Patriarchal students were forced to study abroad. In any case, the decisions of Halki’s faculty, the Ecumenical Patriarchal Synod’s decree of 1912 by the saintly Patriarch Joachim, and the confirmation in 1913, by Patriarch Germanos are faultlessly Orthodox and in conformity with Patristic Theology, which is why the Russian Synod quoted them in accepting it as the official Theological statement for their decision, and then dealt with the practical portion. All the Orthodox have accepted them.

    In the last paragraph, Mr. Deretich returns to the first position, “the name of God is God Himself”, as if all the intervening verbiage had proved it. We see that St. John of Kronstadt, understood it in the Orthodox way: “God is everywhere present” and in the manner in which the Seventh Ecumenical Council determined. The names are worshipped but not to be deified. The name cannot be God Himself. The Church has dogmatized for 3000 years, that no name is God Himself.

    Another statement in a previous “summary” paragraph: “The Orthodox Church does teach that God fills and dwells in his created names”. We challenge this statement as entirely false; present us with a reference. It will not be found, neither in an official council nor in any of the Saints of the Church. The next statement is inarguably acceptable “God is present everywhere and fills all created things”. But then the statement which violates the former, as we explained earlier on, “God ‘dwells’ especially in sacred, created things”; then Mr. Deretich proceeds to return to all the errors of the name-worshippers: “the name can sometimes have a meaning different from ‘mere created names”, “the uncreated power of God (which is sometimes called the [uncreated] name of God” (where? No where!) and so on and so forth. An incoherent spate of unsupported claims, and unconnected thoughts foreign to the theology of St. Gregory Palamas and all the great Fathers whom we faithfully follow.

    Perhaps it is unfair to cast all the opprobrium of false teaching upon Mr. Deretich. He is apparently a spokesman – since he is an employee of HOCNA – for Gregory Babunashvili of HOCNA. He (Gregory Babunashvili) is a faithful disciple of Gregory Lourie, repeating his exact words. I have been told by many who have heard him preach his doctrines, that when someone presents facts or doctrines of the Church’s saints which refute his teachings, so that he cannot answer, he then resorts to shouted denials. For this reason most of the Clergy and people deserted HOCNA, people of the theological knowledge and stature as: Frs. Michael Azkoul, John Flesser, Christos Constantinou, Christos Patitsas and Andrew Snogren. It is evident that Gregory Babunashvili is ignorant of the doctrines of the Church’s saints, even of St. Gregory Palamas, whom he claimed he understood. Furthermore, he makes definite affirmations of facts and references, which upon investigation, are revealed to be false or non-existent. As someone said, “I wouldn’t accept anything he said, even if pearls and diamonds fell from his lips”. His writings also corroborate his ignorance of the fundamentals of the Church’s theology.

    Returning to Mr. Deretich’s “In summary” paragraph, third before the end, he states, “The Orthodox Church does teach that God fills and dwells in his created names”. [a ‘teaching’ found nowhere, except in Anthony Bulatovich]… God is everywhere present and fills all created things. And God “dwells” especially in sacred, created things: in the saints, angels, relics, the Cross, icons…” etc. He repeats further on the word “dwells”, with quotation marks and without quotation marks. He states: “God’s power sometimes works miracles through created holy icons”. He is obviously attempting to return to the phrase “the name of God is God Himself”, the keystone of name-worshipping. The Orthodox Church recognizes God’s presence everywhere and in everything, as we have stated. Here, Mr. Deretich is attempting to make a special kind of presence with the word “dwells” or “fills”, although he repeats the Church’s teaching of God’s omnipresence, Who fills all things. What is he implying by these words and their repetition? By his return to the formula “the name of God is God Himself”, this intimates more than the usual divine omnipresence. If he is implying an “incarnation” of God, he would be condemned and anathematized by the Third and Fourth Ecumenical Councils. Various words are used by the Church for the presence of God in the Church: ‘overshadowing’, ‘presence’, ‘attached’, ‘abiding’, ‘to come upon’, ‘be present’, ‘sense’, ‘nearness’, ‘means’, but usually in a temporary or passing sense. This insistence on “dwells” and “fills” are words also used by many in the Church, but taken in conjunction with Deretich’s other statements, he is implying something more, but dares not say “incarnation”. It reminds one of the Hindu doctrine of Avatars. Rama and Krishna were avatars of Vishnu, in ancient Brahmanism. Throughout India, in the temples of Hanu-man, the mobs of monkeys scrambling about there, are his avatars, ‘God Himself’ as you would be told.

    St. John Kronstadt avoids that trap because he obeyed the Church’s doctrine expressed in the Seventh Ecumenical Council. We can approach an Icon of Christ and pray before it, and Christ God can work miracles; for He is present since He is everywhere. But it is our volition, our will, which reaches Him through the created Icon, but the Icon is not deified, it is not God Himself, as the Seventh Ecumenical Council has dogmatized. Any other doctrine or Hindic avatar teaching is anathematized.

    I repeat: No Father has ever said that the name of God is an energy of God. Nowhere does the Church teach of an uncreated name of God.

    Names are created by man, and do not pertain to God. “…by the gift of God, it pertains to men alone both to make the invisible thought of the intellect audible by uniting it with the air and to write it down so that it may be seen with and through the body. God thus leads us to a steadfast faith in the abiding presence and manifestation of the supreme Logos in the flesh”. (#63 from the 150 Chapters of St. Gregory Palamas, in the Philokalia, vol. 4). Here the unique Incarnation of the Son of God is affirmed, where the hypostasis of the Word took upon Himself the human nature from the Ever-virgin Mary. There is one hypostasis with two natures, divine and human, inseparably united, undivided yet not confused, two separate and different natures in the one Person of the Word of God, perfect God and perfect man. This is proclaimed by the Third and Fourth Ecumenical Councils.

    “There is no intermediate nature between the created and uncreated, neither is there any such operation (energy). Therefore, if it is created, it will show only a created nature, if it is uncreated, it will indicate an uncreated substance only. The natural properties must correspond with the nature absolutely, since the existence of a defective nature is impossible. The natural operations, moreover, does not come from anything outside the nature, and it is obvious that the nature can neither exist nor be known without its natural operation. For by remaining invariable, each thing gives of its own nature”. St. John Damascus Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, III, 15.

    St. John of Damascus explains: “The Deity being incomprehensible is also assuredly nameless. Therefore since we know not His essence, let us not seek for a name for His essence. For names are explanations of actual things. But God, Who is good and brought us out of nothing into being that we might share in His goodness, and Who gave us the faculty of knowledge, not only did not impart to us His essence, but did not even grant us the knowledge of His essence. For it is impossible for nature to understand fully the super-natural. Moreover, if knowledge is of things that are, how can there be knowledge of the super-essential? Through His unspeakable goodness, then, it pleased Him to be called by names that we could understand, that we might not be altogether cut off from the knowledge of Him but should have some notion of Him, however vague. Inasmuch, then, as He is incomprehensible, He is also unnameable. But inasmuch as He is the cause of all and contains in Himself the reasons and causes of all that is, He receives names drawn from all that is, even from opposites: for example, He is called light and darkness, water and fire: in order that we may know that these are not of His essence but that He is super-essential and unnameable: but inasmuch as He is the cause of all, He receives names from all His effects”. St. John Damascus Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, I, 12.

    There is no mixture or fusing of created and uncreated. Names are created, as the precious quotation from St. Gregory Palamas stated, who collated and summarized the Patristic teachings. An uncreated name is impossible according to St. John, as quoted, and to all the Fathers. There is no such thing as an uncreated name, as St. John Damascus says above.

    “We apply all the names of these attributes to the supra-essential Being that is absolutely nameless”. St. Cyril, Treasuries, PG 14, 240A.

    The fathers talk about three levels of prayer (such as St. Theophan the Recluse. What is Prayer). Oral, mental and spiritual. When one reaches spiritual prayer, the invocation of the name of God ceases. This is what St. Isaac the Syrian means by, “silence is the mystery of the age to come.” (St. Isaac the Syrian. Ascetical Homilies. Holy Transfiguration Monastery. Brookline, MA. (1984) Homily 65, p. 321).

    The attributes are the energies of God, the things that pertain to God. We give the names, as is obvious from the above, and the name is not the energy, as is also obvious, for it is God and therefore nameless.

    I prefer to follow the Third, Fourth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils, and all the Holy Fathers before and after. I will follow the Councils of 1912 and 1913, which are vilified by your Bulatovich, Gregory Lourie and Gregory Babunashvili, yet believed in by scores of saints and wise and holy men and of martyrs from then till now, whom you slander. I will follow the Apostle Peter who declares: “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”. (2 Peter, 1:20-21).

    • Thomas Deretich

      BIG WITH POWER

      Saint Justin the Philosopher and Martyr (✠165), in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (§9), wrote the following about the words of the Holy Gospel:

      “we have not believed empty myths, or words without any foundation, but [words] filled with divine spirit, and big with power, and flourishing with grace.”

      « οὐ κενοῖς ἐπιστεύσαμεν μύθοις οὐδὲ ἀναποδείκτοις λόγοις, ἀλλὰ [λόγοις] μεστοῖς πνεύματος θείου καὶ δυνάμει βρύουσι καὶ τεθηλόσι χάριτι. »

      The phrase translated “big with power” (dynámei brýousi, δυνάμει βρύουσι) could also be translated “full of power,” “swelling with power,” “abounding with power,” “teeming with power,” or “bursting with power” (cf. LSJ, A Greek–English Lexicon [9th ed.; 1996], s.v. « βρύω »). The idea that the Saint intends to convey should be clear to everyone: the words of the Holy Gospel are full of—even overflowing with—divine power. The words of the Gospel literally are “big with power.”

      This is how the Saints of the Orthodox Church speak about the words of the Holy Gospel. Indeed, this is similar to how our Savior Himself spoke about His words: “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life [τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἐγὼ λελάληκα ὑμῖν πνεῦμά ἐστιν καὶ ζωή ἐστιν]” (John 6:63).

      If there should be any doubt about what Christ and His Saints taught about the divine power that is present in holy words, or doubt about how the Church has historically understood this teaching, the Church has clearly dogmatized on this matter by a Council accepted by all Orthodox Christians. In Saint Gregory Palamas’s Confession of the Orthodox Faith (§4), which was accepted and promulgated by the great Council of Constantinople of 1341 (the “Ninth Ecumenical Council”), we read that God “dwells in [enoikoûnta, ἐνοικοῦντα]” the words (or sayings, or oracles) that have been given to us by God and handed down to us in the Church—which the Saint calls the “God-given sayings [theoparádota lógia, θεοπαράδοτα λόγια].” Besides saying that God “dwells in” these words as He “dwells in” the Saints (and the relics, and tombs, and icons of the Saints), Saint Gregory also instructs us that “we give relative worship [proskynoûmen schetikôs, προσκυνοῦμεν σχετικῶς]” to these words as we “give relative worship” or “give veneration” to the Saints and the relics and tombs and icons of the Saints.

      Thus it is dogma of the Church, accepted by all Orthodox Christians, that God Himself dwells in holy persons (the Saints), holy objects (such as the Cross and the Book of the Holy Gospels), and in holy words (“God-given sayings”). It is equally a dogma that we “venerate” (or “give relative worship to”) all of these holy persons, objects, and words.

      We give “absolute worship” or “adoration [latreía, λατρεία]” to the Creator (God) alone. But we give “veneration” or “relative worship [katà schésin proskýnēsis, κατὰ σχέσιν προσκύνησις]” to holy persons, sacred objects, and God-given words.

      That is what the Holy Orthodox Church teaches us about the “big” (Divine) power present in holy words and names and about how we must treat those words and names with great reverence. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not consider innocent the one who takes His name in vain [οὐ λήμψῃ τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ σου ἐπὶ ματαίῳ οὐ γὰρ μὴ καθαρίσῃ κύριος τὸν λαμβάνοντα τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ ματαίῳ]” (Exodus 20:7, Septuagint).

      Now, let us contrast these dogmas and commands of the Christian Faith with what our anonymous poster “GeorgeT49” wrote. GeorgeT49 first quotes something that I wrote summarizing the teaching of Saint Gregory Palamas and other Saints: “The Orthodox Church does teach that God fills and dwells in His created names.” This is GeorgeT49’s response: “We challenge this statement as entirely false; present us with a reference. It will not be found, neither in an official council nor in any of the Saints of the Church.”

      Saint Gregory Palamas and the “Ninth Ecumenical Council” dogmatized that God dwells in the God-given words (or saying, or oracles, or scriptures). Does GeorgeT49 believe that God dwells in the God-given words in general, but NOT in God-given names for God? Or, does He not really believe the Orthodox dogma that God dwells in holy words as He dwells in holy persons and holy things? Does he not believe that the Holy Scriptures are God-given (not in the Islamic or Protestant fundamentalist sense) but in the Orthodox patristic sense? Does he not believe that “Yahweh” (“He Who Is”) and “Jesus” (“Yahweh Saves”) are God-given names? Are these merely man-made names with no Divine revelation behind them?

      GeorgeT49’s references to Hinduism, Gnosticism, Jewish Cabala, Paul Florensky, and the sophiology of Sergius Bulgakov are quite bizarre. I focused on quoting Saint Gregory Palamas’s teaching that God “dwells in” “God-given [created] words.” GeorgeT49 himself quotes Saint John of Kronstadt as saying (very eloquently) that God attaches Himself to—or is present in—His (created) name. Then why this statement?: “[T]hey attempt to re-introduce their old doctrines by developing a Hindu-like doctrine of God ‘dwelling’ in the material name, a sort of Avatar, as we saw in Mr. Deretich’s last answer.” Does GeorgeT49 really believe—and accept without reservation—the Orthodox dogma that God dwells in holy words and names? Or, does he think it is Hinduism?

      Is GeorgeT49 capable of discerning that “God dwells in created names” (which is Orthodox) is not the same as “God is His created name” (which is a heresy, if anyone actually teaches that)?

      When the Saints say that God dwells in created words and names, they indicate that God and the created names for God are not the same thing. One Thing (God the Creator) dwells in another thing (a created word). There is no identity or confusion. The saints do not identify or confuse the two. HOCNA does not confuse or identify the two. And nothing I have written identifies or confuses the two. The consensus of the Orthodox Church is that God’s uncreated power dwells in holy (but created) persons, holy (but created) objects, and holy (but created) words and names. Does GeorgeT49 accept this dogma of the Orthodox faith? Or does he consider it Gnosticism or Hinduism?

      Does GeorgeT49 believe without reservation that the words of the Holy Gospel are “full of power,” “swelling with power,” “abounding with power,” “teeming with power,” and “bursting with power,” even “overflowing” with divine power—as Saint Justin Martyr and the consensus of the entire Orthodox Church believe—or does he believe that that Orthodox dogma is Hinduism?

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  • GeorgeT49

    Reply to Mr. Tom Deretich, no.3

    I must thank Mr. Deretich for even attempting to explain his position, lacking as it is in Orthodox legitimacy and apparently, even in name-worshipping legitimacy, as pointed out by the NFTU moderator. However, Mr. Deretich completely ignored our whole exposition on St. John of Kronstadt, whom Anthony Bulatovich quoted an hundred years ago in support of his beliefs, as do all name-worshippers to the present day, including Mr. Deretich. We quoted several passages from ‘My Life in Christ’, which demonstrated that the saint never, ever, advocated their doctrines, but was in harmony with patristic theology and the decisions of the Third, Fourth, and Seventh Ecumenical Councils. In all that they have written, Bulatovich, Lourie, Babunashvili, and Deretich have demonstrated their ignorance of patristic theology and the Conciliar decisions. How can they answer? They will have to admit that St. John does not preach their beliefs and so admit that he is a ‘name-fighter’, i.e., Orthodox. Their only course is to ignore the matter, since they cannot answer. Such is their customary course, when contrary proof is presented. It is a kind of ostrich argumentation. One sticks his head in the sand to ignore anything inimical or contrary, thus appearing infallible in one’s preaching. If one cannot answer, immediately attack or shift ground: this is their tactic.

    Mr. Deretich returns to the attack with a passage from St. Cyril of Alexandria’s commentary on the Gospel of St. John. “Holy Father, keep in Thy name, those Whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name.” (John 17:11,12). These verses cannot be understood in any name-worshipping sense, but clearly mean that while Christ was bodily present with the Apostles, He had kept them united in the confession and belief of the Father, through His divinity. Christ now prays and blesses them audibly so that they would learn that He and the Father are one, and is confirming that the same divine power through which He kept them united while present in the flesh, will continue to do so when He is absent. That such is the significance of the passage can be seen when we complete the entire Scriptural quote: “All mine are thine and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep in thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled. And now I am come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves…I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world. They are not of the world, even as I am not. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world, sanctify them in thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:10-17)

    When one reads St. Cyril’s interpretation of the above passage, which fills sixteen pages, in the ninth chapter of his commentary on St. John’s Gospel, it is obvious that the subject is the Incarnation of the Word, the Hypostasis in Two natures of God’s Son and Word, one of the Trinity; the purport of the interpretation is the unity of the Trinity, which unity of nature or essence is to be reflected in the unity of the Apostles – “that they may be one as we are” – united in the confession of the faith and in the truth. The truth and word is Christ Himself, the one of the Trinity, with which He repeatedly identifies Himself and proclaims His equality. He has taken them out of the world (for Christ is one of the Trinity) and, again identifying Himself with the Father’s nature and authority by natural right, “the name which is above every name”, He has also received, as man, the glory of the Divinity. This dual nature of the Hypostasis is constantly intimated in order to instruct the Apostles whose understanding was yet flawed.

    “Sanctify them in Thy truth, Thy word is truth”. The Lord prayed audibly that they be kept by God’s power in the true doctrine and in holiness in Christ.

    The entire discourse of sixteen pages is a closely reasoned exposition of the doctrine of the Incarnation and the logical difficulties of this economy for mankind. The power and glory of God is not identified with the name as a definition, but the name refers to the nature and identity of the Holy Trinity, as St. Cyril declares, and is not defined as any of the attributes of God, i.e., divine operations, activity, will, providence, and energies of God: an impossibility known to anyone who has but a smattering of patristic theology.

    “And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). St. Cyril consistently speaks of the fine distinction between the divine and human natures of Christ, and the nameless essence of God and the one, impersonal divinity.

    Again we see Mr. Deretich taking the Scriptures or the words of the saints and wrenching them out of context, distorting them, for his own purpose.

    St. John Chrysostom, in his commentary on these verses, says, “when He saith ‘keep them,’ he doth not speak merely of delivering from dangers, but also with regard to their continuance in the faith, wherefore He addeth, ‘sanctify them in Thy truth’. Make them holy by the gift of the Spirit and of right doctrines.” And his commentary on verse twenty-one also agrees. St. Chrysostom agrees with St. Cyril that Christ, in condescension to the Apostles’ weakness, is instructing them in both the unity of the divine nature and that He is God. His power and might, which is the same one, impersonal power of the three personed Trinity, which power has no name, since it is divinity, but which we name from our own perceptions and understandings of God’s operations acting upon us and all creation in multifarious ways. No matter how Mr. Deretich may cut, twist, and turn, there is no way that he can claim that St. Cyril teaches that the name of God is an energy of God. The moderator of NFTU stated it cogently.

    Concerning the translation from St. Cyril, τηρείν (terein), Mr. Deretich has it translated as protect, but the authorized version translates it as “to keep”, which is more accurate and agrees with the sense of keeping them united, while Mr. Deretich, favors ‘to protect’, since it helps twist the meaning. The translation “to keep”

    agrees more with the words that follow. They are kept in unity and faith in the Word, i.e., in Christ and the doctrine by God’s grace. We cannot chop up the texts and move them about and attach them elsewhere. Mr. Deretich also shades the meaning of ὀιονεί which is usually translated, ‘as if’ or ‘as though’. The full passage from St. Cyril will be given: “For in the first passage when he says that his disciples ought to be kept in the name of the Father, as if to say, in the power and the glory of His 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 unto them… but here where he says, “Keep them in the truth’, He signifies clearly their being led by revelation of the truth to apprehend it”. Thus, when reading the full text of the actual words of St. Cyril, he in no way declares that the name of God is an energy of God. There is no definition that the name itself is the energy of God which as we shall see, would be considered madness by the Fathers, for a name or word is not the thing itself, but a human label, an identification, a signifier. “Name” here means, in the confession and belief of God, in the shelter of His grace and power.

    Did you catch that Mr. Deretich? We are no longer surprised at mistranslations favouring name-worship coming out of Boston, alas.

    The Blessed Theophylact’s commentary on the same verses, gives very similar explanations in his reference to the Incarnation of the Word and the economy of the Lord’s ministry. When Christ prays to the Father saying, “‘keep in thine own name’, means keeping them by the help and power that thou hast given Me. What kind of protection does the Father give? He bestows unity, ‘that they may be one’”.

    (Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John, chapter 17).

    Statements issuing from Mr. Deretich, Gregory Babunashvili, and in general HOCNA, declaring that the Ecumenical Patriarchs, Mt. Athos, Halki, and the Russian Synod’s bishops, during 1912 and 1913, were all enemies of hesychasm and were untraditional are slanders and false. This is their generic slander for anyone who condemns name-worshippers.

  • GeorgeT49

    Reply to Mr. Tom Deretich, no.3

    I must thank Mr. Deretich for even attempting to explain his position, lacking as it is in Orthodox legitimacy and apparently, even in name-worshipping legitimacy, as pointed out by the NFTU moderator. However, Mr. Deretich completely ignored our whole exposition on St. John of Kronstadt, whom Anthony Bulatovich quoted an hundred years ago in support of his beliefs, as do all name-worshippers to the present day, including Mr. Deretich. We quoted several passages from ‘My Life in Christ’, which demonstrated that the saint never, ever, advocated their doctrines, but was in harmony with patristic theology and the decisions of the Third, Fourth, and Seventh Ecumenical Councils. In all that they have written, Bulatovich, Lourie, Babunashvili, and Deretich have demonstrated their ignorance of patristic theology and the Conciliar decisions. How can they answer? They will have to admit that St. John does not preach their beliefs and so admit that he is a ‘name-fighter’, i.e., Orthodox. Their only course is to ignore the matter, since they cannot answer. Such is their customary course, when contrary proof is presented. It is a kind of ostrich argumentation. One sticks his head in the sand to ignore anything inimical or contrary, thus appearing infallible in one’s preaching. If one cannot answer, immediately attack or shift ground: this is their tactic.

    Mr. Deretich returns to the attack with a passage from St. Cyril of Alexandria’s commentary on the Gospel of St. John. “Holy Father, keep in Thy name, those Whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name.” (John 17:11,12). These verses cannot be understood in any name-worshipping sense, but clearly mean that while Christ was bodily present with the Apostles, He had kept them united in the confession and belief of the Father, through His divinity. Christ now prays and blesses them audibly so that they would learn that He and the Father are one, and is confirming that the same divine power through which He kept them united while present in the flesh, will continue to do so when He is absent. That such is the significance of the passage can be seen when we complete the entire Scriptural quote: “All mine are thine and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep in thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled. And now I am come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves…I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world. They are not of the world, even as I am not. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world, sanctify them in thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:10-17)

    When one reads St. Cyril’s interpretation of the above passage, which fills sixteen pages, in the ninth chapter of his commentary on St. John’s Gospel, it is obvious that the subject is the Incarnation of the Word, the Hypostasis in Two natures of God’s Son and Word, one of the Trinity; the purport of the interpretation is the unity of the Trinity, which unity of nature or essence is to be reflected in the unity of the Apostles – “that they may be one as we are” – united in the confession of the faith and in the truth. The truth and word is Christ Himself, the one of the Trinity, with which He repeatedly identifies Himself and proclaims His equality. He has taken them out of the world (for Christ is one of the Trinity) and, again identifying Himself with the Father’s nature and authority by natural right, “the name which is above every name”, He has also received, as man, the glory of the Divinity. This dual nature of the Hypostasis is constantly intimated in order to instruct the Apostles whose understanding was yet flawed.

    “Sanctify them in Thy truth, Thy word is truth”. The Lord prayed audibly that they be kept by God’s power in the true doctrine and in holiness in Christ.

    The entire discourse of sixteen pages is a closely reasoned exposition of the doctrine of the Incarnation and the logical difficulties of this economy for mankind. The power and glory of God is not identified with the name as a definition, but the name refers to the nature and identity of the Holy Trinity, as St. Cyril declares, and is not defined as any of the attributes of God, i.e., divine operations, activity, will, providence, and energies of God: an impossibility known to anyone who has but a smattering of patristic theology.

    “And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). St. Cyril consistently speaks of the fine distinction between the divine and human natures of Christ, and the nameless essence of God and the one, impersonal divinity.

    Again we see Mr. Deretich taking the Scriptures or the words of the saints and wrenching them out of context, distorting them, for his own purpose.

    St. John Chrysostom, in his commentary on these verses, says, “when He saith ‘keep them,’ he doth not speak merely of delivering from dangers, but also with regard to their continuance in the faith, wherefore He addeth, ‘sanctify them in Thy truth’. Make them holy by the gift of the Spirit and of right doctrines.” And his commentary on verse twenty-one also agrees. St. Chrysostom agrees with St. Cyril that Christ, in condescension to the Apostles’ weakness, is instructing them in both the unity of the divine nature and that He is God. His power and might, which is the same one, impersonal power of the three personed Trinity, which power has no name, since it is divinity, but which we name from our own perceptions and understandings of God’s operations acting upon us and all creation in multifarious ways. No matter how Mr. Deretich may cut, twist, and turn, there is no way that he can claim that St. Cyril teaches that the name of God is an energy of God. The moderator of NFTU stated it cogently.

    Concerning the translation from St. Cyril, τηρείν (terein), Mr. Deretich has it translated as protect, but the authorized version translates it as “to keep”, which is more accurate and agrees with the sense of keeping them united, while Mr. Deretich, favors ‘to protect’, since it helps twist the meaning. The translation “to keep”

    agrees more with the words that follow. They are kept in unity and faith in the Word, i.e., in Christ and the doctrine by God’s grace. We cannot chop up the texts and move them about and attach them elsewhere. Mr. Deretich also shades the meaning of ὀιονεί which is usually translated, ‘as if’ or ‘as though’. The full passage from St. Cyril will be given: “For in the first passage when he says that his disciples ought to be kept in the name of the Father, as if to say, in the power and the glory of His 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 unto them… but here where he says, “Keep them in the truth’, He signifies clearly their being led by revelation of the truth to apprehend it”. Thus, when reading the full text of the actual words of St. Cyril, he in no way declares that the name of God is an energy of God. There is no definition that the name itself is the energy of God which as we shall see, would be considered madness by the Fathers, for a name or word is not the thing itself, but a human label, an identification, a signifier. “Name” here means, in the confession and belief of God, in the shelter of His grace and power.

    Did you catch that Mr. Deretich? We are no longer surprised at mistranslations favouring name-worship coming out of Boston, alas.

    The Blessed Theophylact’s commentary on the same verses, gives very similar explanations in his reference to the Incarnation of the Word and the economy of the Lord’s ministry. When Christ prays to the Father saying, “‘keep in thine own name’, means keeping them by the help and power that thou hast given Me. What kind of protection does the Father give? He bestows unity, ‘that they may be one’”.

    (Explanation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John, chapter 17).

    Statements issuing from Mr. Deretich, Gregory Babunashvili, and in general HOCNA, declaring that the Ecumenical Patriarchs, Mt. Athos, Halki, and the Russian Synod’s bishops, during 1912 and 1913, were all enemies of hesychasm and were untraditional are slanders and false. This is their generic slander for anyone who condemns name-worshippers.

    I was informed of your (or at least of your mentor, Babunashvili’s) condemnation of Elder Callinicus of Mt. Athos. Elder Callinicus was the foremost and most renowned practitioner and teacher of hesychasm and the Jesus Prayer at that time. His fame as a spiritual Father had spread far, even to Russia, and he was known to the Czar. When the Elder’s name was mentioned, Babunashvili said, “Oh, he was nothing”. He proved that he was ignorant of the facts and speaking off the top of his head when he added, “and he didn’t even know Russian.” The Elder Callinicus had learnt Russian in order to help the hundreds, if not thousands, who came to him for confession and guidance. Upon his authority, the Athonite Community condemned name-worshipping as a heresy. He called it “that stupid heresy”.

    Joachim III, the Ecumenical Patriarch, who issued the Patriarchal Tome condemning name-worshipping, has been slandered in many statements issuing from HOCNA, as being a heretic, or of no note, or of even remaining undecided as an excommunicate. However, the witness of so many contemporaries who called him holy, a great saint and man of prayer, by both Greeks and Russians alike, disproves these slanders. We even have the contemporary witness of a very well known clairvoyant hesychast, the Elder Ieronymos of Aegina. (This is the title of his biography by Peter Botsis, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, 2007). The Patriarch established Fr. Ieronymos in Constantinople, appointing him as preacher and was his patron, as was Joachim’s successor Germanos V, who valued him highly. Elder Ieronymos always spoke highly of Patriarch Joachim calling him “saint” or “holy”. Also, see the footnote on page seventy-seven of the Elder’s biography published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery.

    Nor were the Russian bishops anti-hesychasts, according to the HOCNA accusations. Metropolitan Anthony wrote very favourably of the life of prayer and monasticism. He cultivated it among his students, and among the Diaspora. It was reported to me that he had wanted to retire to a monastery, but he was prevailed upon to remain presiding, since he was the only figure that had the stature to keep the Russians united. How many did he not affect, such as St. Justin Popovich, St. John of San Francisco, and St. Philaret of New York, who had him as their spiritual Father, and many more. They all supported or established monastic communities.

    What can be said of the great exponents of name-worship? Their “saint” Bulatovich invaded monasteries – most notably St. Panteleimon’s and St. Andrew’s. He coerced or expelled abbots and monks violently and plundered their possessions and treasuries. Strange conduct for a lover of quiet prayer and monastic obedience. The fruits of Name Worshipping from the beginning was stubborn war and disunity, as we saw in HOCNA and HTM.

    Gregory Lourie lives a secular life, even as do his so-called monastics. His prominent nun Cassia wears fashionable dresses and hats, and is involved in literature and society, saying that she would never enter a monastery, or anything that limited her freedom of action. Would St. Isaac approve?

    I was shown a copy of a letter signed by most of the monks of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, petitioning HOCNA not to ordain Gregory Babunashvili. They stated that in his residence as novice and monk, he had never completed one monastic obedience, ignored all duties, and was disobedient. Not the conduct of an hesychast, to say the least.

    Who, then, is the anti-hesychast? We are printing below the Patriarchal Tome issued in 1912, clarifying the doctrine of the Church, by Patriarch Joachim and His Synod, after consultation with the theological faculty of Halki. It was confirmed again in 1913 by Patriarch Germanos, and adopted by the Russian Synod of 1913 as their official dogmatic statement. It is full of respect for the Jesus Prayer and proclaims the Orthodox and patristic doctrines soundly and succinctly. In it there is nothing of heresy or innovation. Therefore, the entire Orthodox Church accepted it as fundamental truth and the voice of the Holy Spirit.

    The Patriarchal Tome of 1912:

    1. The name of God is holy, worshipful, and desirable, because it is useful to us as a verbal designation for the most desired and most Holy Being, God, the source of everything good. This name is of God, because it was revealed to us by God, it speaks to us of God, it refers our spirit towards God, etc. In prayer (especially the Jesus prayer) the name of God, and God Himself are inseparably in our consciousness, and it is as if they coincide, and indeed, they cannot and ought not be separated, opposing one to the other; but this only in prayer and only by our heart. Examined theologically and in reality, the name of God is only a name! It is not Himself nor an attribute (characteristic) of His. It is the name of an object not the object itself. Therefore, it is impossible for it to be considered or named either God (this would be mindless and blasphemous) or divinity, for it also is not an energy of God.

    2. The name of God uttered in prayer with faith is able to perform miracles, but not by itself in itself, nor as a consequence of some divine power which, in a matter of speaking, is enclosed in it or attached to it, which would then work mechanically, but rather thus: the Lord seeing our faith, in the power of His unlying promise, He sends His grace, and through it He performs the miracle.

    3. Each of the Holy Mysteries are accomplished neither by the faith of him who performs them nor by the faith of him who receives, but neither by the invoking or depiction of the name of God, but by the prayer and faith of the Holy Church, on whose behalf it is performed, with the power granted her by the Lord’s promise. Such is the Orthodox Faith, the patristic and Apostolic Faith.

    “The name of God is God Himself” is the mantra of the name-worshippers. Some have asked, “well, what is that name?” The name-worshippers do not answer. Their pioneer, Hilarion was emphatic that it was “Jesus”. Bulatovich expanded the definition so widely, that even the Gospel’s words, printed or spoken, were “God Himself”. His definition became so tenuous and broad that he more than verged on Pantheism.

    Modern revivers of the name-worshipping heresy, still quote St. John of Kronstadt out of context, as we pointed out in a previous response to Mr. Deretich. Yet they still cling to their mantra, even when they explain it away, saying, “no one would say that created words are divine”, which refutes their “sainted” founders’ doctrine.

    When we consider the Church’s doctrine of God’s omnipresence, the question arises: since God is everywhere present, fills all things, permeates all things, separated from us only by the incomprehensibility of His nature dwelling in unapproachable light, how can He become more “Himself”? “He remains One, nothing less than Himself” (St. Dionysius Aeropagite, Divine Names II, 11, Pg. 3, 649B). How can He become more than He already is? Is He somehow half-existent or semi-conscious? Is God divided into parts or are there boundaries in Him that make Him different parts?

    The Synodicon of Orthodoxy in the Chapters Against Barlaam and Acindynus, written by St. Gregory Palamas, declares: “To those same men who think and say that the name Godhead or Divinity (Θεότης) can be applied only to the essence of God, and who do not confess, in accord with the divinely-inspired theologies of the Saints and the pious mind of the Church, that this appellation is applied as well to the divine energy, and that by all means, the Saints thus still profess one Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, whether one apply the term Godhead (Θεότης) to their essence or to their operation since the divine expounders of the mysteries have so instructed us. Anathama (3)”.

    Where is the advantage of pronouncing a name that is unknown or inexpressible? If the name Divinity (Θεότης) applies to both the essence and energy, as St. Gregory declares, and the essence is nameless, as every prophet, apostle, saint, hierarch, and theologian has agreed, then how can there be an “uncreated name” when nothing of the essence can be known, comprehended, or communicated, while the operations or attributes all defined by the fathers as “essential energy” are impersonal and have no name in themselves, but, as the operations and activities of God, are labelled by us from their effects on us and from what we perceive of His works. These operations or energies are the “formless logoi” of His will, to create, to provide, to foreknow, to love, etc. Such difficulties were never considered by the simplistic ignorance of the Name Worshippers, who are ignorant of the Orthodox patristic doctrines.