Bulgarian Members of GOC(K) Object to Union

Abp. Kallinikos (GOC-K) Serves Memorial for Departed Met. Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle
March 21, 2014
GOC (K) Formalizes Communion with ROCOR-A
March 23, 2014

Bulgarian Members of GOC(K) Object to Union

A website, apparently run by Bulgarian members of the GOC (K) has become extremely critical of the GOC(K)-SiR Union; labeling the union false and heretical.  The sites seems to have been up for a few days (it dating it’s publication as 5/18 March, 2014).  It purports to have the support of Fr. John Vasilevski, and a Fr. Cassian. It demands that all members of the former Cyprianites be received by baptism, chrismation (and for those coming in as clergy, Ordination).  The conclusions summed up are quoted below:

IF the heretics cyprianites want on their part to become Orthodox – which they so far still ARE NOT (!) – this must be done TRULY, not hypocritically!
Because there is not salvation without the Truth!
This means – if they want to become Orthodox – they are
– NOT just “to condemn ecumenism”
– NOT also just “to anathematize ecumenism and the calendar”
a)  TO anathematize the heresy of ecumenism, defining it as the last and most terrible heresy=religion of the antichrist (there will not be another religion of the antichrist)
TO anathematize the papal calendar – as did the Holy Fathers of the Councils and as by three-quarters of what they did, did also the Synod of Chrysostom in 1998
TO anathematize the new calendar pseudochurch! – as a mother, that gave birth to the pan-heresy of ecumenism in 1920 – by conception from her father the devil (John.8:44) = the mother of the heresy of cyprianism and of the heretics cyprianites!

And after that IN DEED – the cyprianites must be
1) Baptized
Tonsured monks
Ordained deacons
Ordained Priests
Ordained Bishops
That is – they have to go through this procedure through which went father Cassian, Bulgarian, when from the heresy of cyprianism came into the Church = in the Synod of Chrysostom – Kallinikos!

Only after all that is done
only then the cyprianites
will become Orthodox – and we will go and bow to each of them = to Christ in him – and will kiss his hand.
And till then and
FOREVER the true Orthodox Synod of Chrysostom, and more precisely THROUGH the Synod – the Holy Spirit Himself (Whom the cyprianites blaspheme) has imposed:

This anathema can not be revoked!
The Holy Spirit WAS NOTmistaken” when He imposed it – as blasphemously and with stubborn fanaticism the heretics cyprianites teach!
On the contrary: the Holy Spirit has proclaimed the Holy Orthodox Truth – and to it resists the offspring of the satanic spirit = “church” of the resisters! Exactly for this reason this “church of the resisters falls under the imposed by the Holy Spirit

And all these movements and uprisings against the Holy Spirit, which the heretics cyprianites are organizing today – both the manifest cyprianites and those hidden in the Synod K. – are carried out as the Lord has said – for there to be made manifest their wickedness, and the fact that they have all come under this

And this must become manifest for two reasons:
1) for the salvation of the chosen
2) and
for condemnation of the resisters with such fanaticism against the Right Hand of God (Ps.16:7)

And all who are Orthodox – do not be fooled!
Stay in the Holy Orthodox Confession!
– Because even if all the bishops leave us and go to this
false church in resistance against the Holy Spirit – even then:
– we who remain in the True Orthodox Confession,
– we who have brought nothing NEW, who have changed nothing of our legacy from the Eternal and Unchanging God,
– we are who comprise the Synod of Chrysostomos-Kallinikos (with or even without Kallinikos!)
and the others – they went to their place: to their brethren heretics cyprianites in their false church of the resisters against the Holy Spirit!

Stay in the Holy Orthodox Confession!
– Because according to the prophecy of St. Anatoly of Optina – in the time of apostasy in which we live (2Thes.2:3) – for the believers who have failed to reap the other virtues, there are prepared by God wreaths for merely remaining steadfast in the True confession = in the Holy Orthodox Faith.

Additionally declaring that Bp. Photii of Triaditza is no more than an “unbaptized layman dressed in parti-colored clothes of a bishop”.  The complaints include that the bishops of the GOC (K) lied to the Bulgarians and others, and they have gone back on their previous position that Bp. Photii was not baptized and ordained but a mere layman.

This will undoubtedly portend greater controversies in some segments of the new communion, if not departures (assuming none have happened already).


  1. Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

    Why do our Romanian brethren think that the “Cypriots” are heretics who require baptism? Did they adopt the New Calendar? Did they give Holy Communion to New Calendarists and heretics? Please explain.

    • HmkEnoch says:

      They are Bulgarians saying this, as it says in the post above. They did not say “Cypriots”, but, rather ‘Cyprianites’. Cyprianite is a term used to refer to members of the Synod in Resistance, and more exactly, to refer to those who embrace the ecclesial position of Met. Cyprian who founded the SiR.

      Nevertheless, the Bulgarian GOC members believe that all the former SiR members (‘Cyprianites’) coming into the GOC under Abp. Kallinikos should be baptized and chrismated because they the Bulgarians are saying that they were (are) heretics. They do not believe the Synod in Resistance were genuine in their motives, nor, as I understand, do they like the fundamental Union document agreed to for the union (i.e., “The True Orthodox Church in Opposition to the Heresy of Ecumenism”). Therefore, they believe that not only is economy impossible for them, but, that the GOC (K) is becoming (or is already) heretical for not having some formal abjuration of the former SiR members of their founder, and anathematizing him, etc.

      • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

        Questions not answered. What did the C…s do specifically that aroused such indignation by the Romanians?

        • HmkEnoch says:

          ???What Romanians??? This article doesn’t mention Romanians. You are going to have to be more specific. I

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            What is the objection of those who oppose the reunion of the C…’s and the TOC-K? Why are they so opposed to it?

          • Jean-Serge Katembue says:

            When you read in the document “True
            Orthodox Church, within the boundaries of Her pastoral solicitude, does not
            provide assurance concerning their validity or concerning their soteriological
            efficacy,”, it means that the view that there is grace in world orthodoxy is acceptable. This is the main problem. It seems cyprianism is back in a disguised way. Add to this the declaration of Chrysostmos of Etna… The secret in which the ecclesiological document has been kept… available for at least 3 days but displayed only today. I will write an article on my blog on the subject.

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            Let there be grace throughout world Orthodoxy; it might be better for some that they had none. To repeat: if ecumenists and New-Calendarists have grace, it is unto condemnation. Each spoon of Communion is fire unto death, for they have dared to consume it while tainted by these modern heresies.

          • Jean-Serge Katembue says:

            How can they have mysterial grace if they are out of the church?

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            Well said. Yet, I am not clear on this matter. Nevertheless, might they not have grace to the degree that they have maintained their identity as Orthodox, inasmuch as they have upheld the truth? Grace, then, becomes an opportunity for their return to the Faith of their fathers. Don’t forget there are some among the “Orthodox ecumenists” who were baptized long before this great apostasy.

          • Jean-Serge Katembue says:

            The mysterial grace is not a personal thing linked to a person but to a particular church if he maintains the true faith. It is very strange to have to remind such basics in true orthodoxy.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            How did Chrysostom of Florina and those with him maintain grace before they joined the Old Calendarists?

            Not to mention, there are many exceptional instances of mysterial grace coming upon persons outside a particular church; for instance, like those instances wherein which some actor mocking baptism ended up believing and becoming a martyr.

            Leontius of Jerusalem illustrates my point: In our own times and places the story is told of a certain actor from a theater company who, being charged with riot and murder, tried to escape from the judge in the deserts near what is called the barbarian border, and was captured by Christian Arabs. Because he seemed to them to be a monk on account of his shaved head, and to be able, like the monks who consort with them, to perform the mystery of the bread of life, he was earnestly entreated by them with signs to celebrate the liturgy of the divine offering, and was set apart from his fellow prisoners on his own. He found no way to convince them by argument of his own unfitness, and he was impotent to resist their demand any longer. He made for himself an altar out of sticks in the desert, spread a fine cloth, set out newly baked bread, and mingled wine in a wooden chalice. Offering the gifts, he made the sign of the cross over them as he looked toward heaven, and glorified the Holy Trinity alone. Then he broke [the bread] and distributed it to them. Afterwards, they took away the cup and the cloth with reverence, as being sanctified, so that they would no longer be used for any profane use. The only thing that they overlooked was the altar. Without warning a great fire fell from heaven! It struck none of them, and hurt no one, but it burned up the entire altar of sticks, and destroyed it so completely as to leave behind not even their ashes. The barbarians, given complete confidence in the man who performed the ritual by the marvel they’d seen, insisted that he ask for some gift of them in return for the liturgy. He asked that all those captured with him be released with him; his wish was granted, and he freed all his companions from their unfortunate situation. Now this man was of our persuasion only in that, when he went to church, he gathered with us, thought to tell the truth he did so without realizing there was a difference between Christians. The Arabs, however, traditionally shared in the heresy of the Jacobites, who themselves give pride of place to one nature in the Lord. These Jacobites were the first to make the practice of traveling with the Arabs in the desert and ministering to them in every way. These men neither knew of, nor taught, precision about the comparison between the doctrines held by different Christian groups. Rather, they were converted by the ideas of Jacob [Baradatus], taking the imprint of these ideas without any examination, much in the way the Persians were converted by the ideas of Nestorius. (“Testimonies of the Saints”. Leontius of Jerusalem edited and translated by Patrick T. R. Gray pp. 157-161)

          • HmkEnoch says:

            Which Leontius is this? One of the two patriarchs or the scholasticus?

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Scholasticus. Depending on if you think Leontius of Byzantium and of Jerusalem are the same person. These men/man developed the terminology of enhypostasization which helped the Church crush Monophysitism and Monothelitism. St. Maximus got his triple formula: Christ is of two natures, in two natures and is two natures from him.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            He was a theological for St. Justinian the Great. This text is from an anti-Monophysite text.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Theological spokesman for St. Justinian.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            The same one in the commission set up by St. Justinian to reconcile the Severians (moderate Monophysite) to Orthodoxy.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Indeed Fr! You know your stuff.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Severus was a moderate Monophysite theologically his party was considered to be “radical Monophysites” confessionally; not because they were Eutychians, (his heresy was more nuanced) but because they demanded that Chalcedon be anathematized whereas other Monophysites were willing to accept the Henotikon and pass over Chalcedon in silence.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            Yes; you had Eutychians, Acephaloi, Severians, and Julianists all running around. It showed extreme confusion even among the Monophysites about what they believed.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Can you please email me that Russian Confession of 1903?

          • HmkEnoch says:

            Ok. I know who you are talking about now. Yes, there are other similar stories. I believe you find one that is somewhat similar in St. John Moschus’ “Spiritual Meadow” or some similar writings. A group of shepherd boys begin to sing parts of the Liturgy which they remember from Church, and sing part from the Anaphora and a fire comes from heaven. Another one is that of a monk not ordained singing the anaphora while carrying some bread, and something similar happening with fire.

            The import of the stories and accounts, I believe, however, is not to say that un-ordained people can consecrate. Clearly, whatever happened happened because God so desired it, and I don’t think we should take these accounts to justify the behaviour described.

            That extraordinary things happen by the pure and glorious Mercy of God, that is, His Uncreated Grace, Which is God working among men, and this is done despite our deserving, should be obvious. But, even the stories we read are what you might call ‘unsystematic’; that is, there isn’t an assumption in the Church tradition that such things such as actors getting fire called down from heaven on a makeshift Holy Table is normative. God can do these things; but, what God can do, and what happens ‘regularly’ are different things. Otherwise, what we commonly call miracles would be indistinguishable from average Church life (and by this I don’t mean to belittel the real Miralces of the Sacramental life, but, by ‘miracles’ I mean things like fire from heaven, men rising from the dead; even though these things were probably much more ‘common’ in the Apostolic days, the days of many wonder-workers, and even probably among the Russian catacomb martyrs, confessors and saints, then among us).

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Amen. My whole point is that the “basic Orthodoxy” mentioned earlier, is not so basic in reality. Speaking of St. John Moschos:

            Saint Athanasios, the Pope of Alexandria, was once asked whether a person could be baptized whose beliefs were not in accordance with the faith and preaching of the Christians, and what would be the fate of — or, how would God receive — somebody who had been baptized under false pretenses and had simulated belief. Athanasios replied: ‘You have heard from those of old how the blessed martyr, Peter, was faced with a situation in which there was a deadly plague and many were running to be baptized for no other reason than that they feared death. A figure appeared to him which had the appearance of angel and which said to him: “How much longer are you going to send from here those purses which are duly sealed, but are altogether empty and have nothing inside them?” So far as one can tell from the saying of the angel, those who have the seal of baptism are indeed baptized since they thought they were doing a good work in receiving baptism.’ (The Spiritual Meadow, 198)

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Many Western Orthodox Fathers believed that very thing.

            St. Fulgentius of Ruspe 467-533
            Anyone who receives the sacrament of baptism, whether in the Catholic Church or in a heretical or schismatic one, receives the whole sacrament; but salvation, which is the strength of the sacrament, he will not have, if he has had the sacrament outside the Catholic Church [and remains in deliberate schism]. He must therefore return to the Church, not so that he might receive again the sacrament of baptism, which no one dare repeat in any baptized person, but so that he may receive eternal life in Catholic society, for the obtaining of which no one is suited who, even with the sacrament of baptism, remains estranged from the Catholic Church. (The Rule of Faith 43)

            St. Gregory the Dialogist ca. 540-604
            And indeed we have learned from the ancient institution of the Fathers that whosoever among heretics are baptized in the name of the Trinity, when they return to holy Church, may be recalled to the bosom of mother Church either by unction of chrism, or by imposition of hands, or by profession of the faith only. Hence the West reconciles Arians to the holy Catholic Church by imposition of hands, but the Eastby the unction of holy chrism. But Monophysites and others are received by a true confession only, because holy baptism, which they have received among heretics, then acquires in them the power of cleansing, when either the former receive the Holy Spirit by imposition of hands, or the latter are united to the bowels of the holy and universal Church byreason of their confession of the true faith. Those heretics, however, who are not baptized in the name of the Trinity, such as the Bonosiaci and theCataphrygæ, because the former do not believe inChrist the Lord, and the latter with a perverse understanding believe a certain bad man, Montanus, to be the Holy Spirit, like whom are many others—these, when they come to holy Church, are baptized, because what they received while in their error, not being in the name of the Holy Trinity, was not baptism. Nor can this be called an iteration of baptism, which, as has been said, had not been given in the name of the Trinity. But the Nestorians, since they are baptized in the name of the HolyTrinity— though darkened by the error of their heresy in that, after the manner of Jewish unbelief, they believe not the Incarnation of the Only-begotten— when they come to the Holy Catholic Church, are to be taught, by firm holding and profession of the true faith, to believe in one and the same Son of God and man, our Lord God Jesus Christ, the same existing in Divinity before the ages, and the same made man in the end of the ages, because The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us Jn. 1:14. (Epistles, Bk. 11: Epistle 67)

            Bede the Venerable ca. 673-735
            For where is a good conscience except where there is a sincere faith? For the Apostle Paul teaches that the purpose of the commandment is charity from a pure heart and a good conscience and unfeigned faith. (1 Tim. 1:5) The fact, therefore, that the water of the flood did not save thouse outside the ark but slew them without doubt prefigured every heretic who, although having the sacrament of baptism, is to be plunged into the lower world not by other waters but by those very waters by which the ark is raised up to the heavens. (Commentary on 1st Peter)

            I’m just suprised to see Fr. Azkoul utilize such Augustinian theology knowing his writings about Blessed Augustine.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            This is perhaps a little more encompassing a discussion, and one that can easily spill over into other issues. It touches upon opinions and views widely held as standard (though not completely so) in the West by Fathers there since the ancient times. However, I think we should be a little careful; the ‘Augustinian’ view is probably only a little more of a ‘systematized’ (and not even that compared to the later evolution of scholasticism, and its (d)evolutions) ) version of the early Roman views expressed by the hieromartyr Stephen of Rome (as seen in his disputes with St. Cyprian of Carthage) in the mid 3rd century. St. Gregory Dialogus continues this line. This line seemed to have been picked up in much of the Slavic Orthodox world since the introduction of scholasticism, and thus, their Bp. Nikodim (Milas) and his way of explaining Apostolic Canon 46, etc. I don’t endorse these views but they did exist.

            However, the view expressed in the union document does not read as either the ancient Roman view, nor as even the scholasticized Orthodox Slavic teaching (as found in several well-known Russian text books, church hand books, and Encyclicals, such as the 1903 Russian Encyclical to Constantinople). The union document seems to be implicitly referencing the “official Orthodox” world, which is a much small species of analysis than the widescope mentioned by St. Gregory Dialogist.

            It should also be mentioned that the non-standard view of the ancient Orthodox Romans and the scholasticized Slavs for nearly 300 years, was predicated upon the comments found in St. Bede; which are an early way of expressing the ‘valid but illicit’ concept. This concept is erroneous because it doesn’t match up with the teachings of the Orthodox Church as shown in its practice toward heretical groups. However, the noting is made, though not endorsed. Even widely disparate figures of late 19th and early 20th century Russian Orthodox Church life such as Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and Abp. Theophan of Poltava (although often very inimical to each other, and attacked by different opponents for various reasons) realized the need to drop this view as being inconsistent with the older Orthodox view.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Personally, I think this view is a very ancient Roman Tradition. It’s pretty much accepted by all the Western Fathers, even Sts. Jerome and Vincent of Lerins thought St. Cyprian was wrong: see Dialogue with the Luciferians and the Commonitory.

            The Council of Arles 314 accepted this understanding before Bl. Augustine was born:

            Concerning the Africans who use their own special law in that they practice rebaptism, it is resolved that if any come to the church from heresy, they question him on the creed (used at his baptism), and if they consider him to have been baptized into the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, let him only receive the laying on of hands so that he receive the Holy Spirit; but if when questioned he does not solemnly confess this Trinity, let him be baptized. (Canon 8)

            The East leaned more towards St. Cyprian, while allowing for other reception practices which St. Cyprian was loathe to do.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            I think the problems has become more ‘practically’ complicated. Ancient heretics that the Orthodox Romans were speaking about baptised in a manner that was the same as the Orthodox. Therefore, even if there were those who disagree with the Roman tradition in understand, they could always say, “Well, this would still fall under economy.” When you are dealing with modern Protestants, and Latins, you are dealing with something that is even more far removed form the cases these Fathers dealt with. Bp. Gregory (Grabbe) briefly mentions something about what I’m talking about in his comments on Apostolic Canon 46 ( of course, I believe the old Jordanville professor, and archimandrite, Fr. Constantine (Zeitsev), who was definitevly NO ECUMENIST, nor friend of the Sergainists, was more in line with the ‘old scholastic’ school of the Russians than Bp. Gregory, Bp. Nektary, or Metropolitan St. PHilaret).

            Even the Papist church historically encountered by ORthodox in the 12, 13, 14, and even 19th centuries, while progressively become more and more alien to Orthodoxy after its schism from the Church, still had some basic recognizability in its forms. Today this is impossible to say.

            There is a context to ancient statements. If the Fathers of Arles were confronted with modern day Baptists they might very well have a different reaction (as even such protestants that ‘baptized in the Name of the Trinity and by immersion’ have a fundamentally different doctrine of Baptism then even teh Novatians, Quartodecimans, etc).

          • Marlon Scott says:


          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            Augustine of Hippo — the “father” of so many heresies — blessed? Start with the filioque, predestination, created and irresistible grace, etc.

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            Evlogite! Forgive me in advance for any offense….

            The anti-St Augustine movement, which began with a few main defenders back in the 70’s (Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Deacon Lazar Puhalo, Romanides, and yourself) has had some strange results.

            Holy Transfiguration Monastery went further and struck whole swaths of Western Saints from the calendar, most notably Sts Isidore and Leander, until their unfortunate fall.

            Romanides, in arguing his “anti-Western” thesis, died seeing commonality between the Orthodox & the Monophysites.

            Abp Lazar Puhalo joined the OCA and now suports hormone replacement & gender replacement therapy.

            In short, the only one who stayed sane in that movement is now yourself, Father… but I’m just going to stick with St Photios and onward as well as what’s on the calendar. Please forgive.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            That is quite a coincidence Fr. Deacon!

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            Far from a coincidence. When it started in the 70’s most involved maintained a correspondence and friendly relations.

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            Read Augustine. See for yourself. Inspect the history of Augustine in the East and the West. The Greek Fathers knew nothing of his doctrine. His name is almost forgotten. Please do not refer me to his name in the minutes of the 4th and 5th EC. Read. The Roman Catholic scholar, Jugie, was amazed that his name was unknown in Russia until the time of Peter the Great. Patriarch Dositheus, Council of Jerusalem, said Augustine is Orthodox. Someone has tampered with this writings. Pure nonsense. Too many editions of his work. There was an interest in him during the 17th c synods, aroused by Cyril Lukaris who sought to convert Orthodox to Calvinism (Augustine). Where are the Church Services in his name before the 20th c? His name was not added to the church calendar until 1968. How man sons named for him? icons? churches? Read; yes, read his writings on the filioque, his predestinarian soteriology! Read.

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            If we can’t refer to two Ecumenical Councils, St Justinian, St Photios, St Mark of Ephesus (who refused to condemn St Augustine at the Council of Florence) then sure– he’s not a Saint, then. We’ll just take out all that stuff because Mr. “Saint” Prosper of Aquitane (obviously part of the conspiracy by making himself a “Saint” too, that thug). But wait, there’s more. Clearly people who insert pseudo-Saint Augustine’s readings into the Church *services* are part of the problem, right? Because that’s what the heretics do! For that matter, that’s what the original Westerners did for centuries before the schism! We’ve found it! The proof we’ve been looking for to make the entire West heretical since the 8th century!

            Occidentophobes unite! We’ve got our man! Once we take him out, the West will be pure right? Of course not. Why there’s a whole host of centuries’ worth of new heretics to rid the calendar of now (better call HTM to get started) and CLEAN THIS UP.

            *tongue planted firmly in cheek*

            I’m sorry, Father, but for all the talk about how St Augustine created all the heresies of the West, it seems taking him out– from my own experience with right-revisionism– has exactly the result we intended to avoid, subjecting the Church to constant revision, creating chaos in the cultus of Saints, and making us subject to a form of elderism where no one can be individually sure of what the truth is anymore.

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            Remember something else: the Crusades. We know for certain that with its conquest of Jerusalem, one of them altered the Liturgy of St James by adding Augustine’s name to the diptycs. We do not know what other religious documents they may have doctored. Are we sure they did not find change the minutes of those two EC.
            We can be sure of one thing: Augustine’s triadology and soteriology are heresy par excellence. Perhaps, too, you can notice the spirit of his theology, etc.? Did you that on his death bed the last thing he uttered was a quotation from Plotinus? Who were the libri Carolini? What happened at the Benedictine Monastery at Corbe? Read Thomas Aquinas. See how he relies on Augustine. Who is Anselm of Canterbury? Read Hugh of St Victor, “the new Augustine.” Did you know that Calvin called Augustine his “alter-ego”? Maybe you like Luther better? Was Augustine rationalistic?

          • HmkEnoch says:

            How do we know Augustine’s writings were not tampered with and corrupted. If we now know that even the Third Council of Toledo (589) didn’t originally have the filioque in it (see A.E. Burn on the earliest manuscripts not having the ‘filioque’), it being inserted some time later, and that’s a MAJOR insertion theologically, how do we know the writings being passed off as Augustine’s are actually his, and not the creation of some secret cabal intent on tearing the West from Orthodoxy?

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            Fr Michael, again, respectfully: I took your word’s, Puhalo’s, et al on the matter of St Augustine as true as Gospel for years. I do not anymore because some of these “facts” lend themselves to interpretation, and in reviewing this text in a glaring point I once simply assumed to be true, I find that your reading was in fact wrong. I will try to answer as fully as I can below in points.

            Point: “Remember something else: the Crusades. We know for certain that with its conquest of Jerusalem, one of them altered the Liturgy of St James by adding Augustine’s name to the diptychs. We do not know what other religious documents they may have doctored. Are we sure they did not find change the minutes of those two EC.”

            But during the Crusades they installed Latin Patriarchs using a Latin Rite anyway. I’d have to see evidence of the change to the Eastern liturgy. I have not. Nor were the Council documents ever in doubt, as the texts were available in more places than Jerusalem. They would have had to change every text on earth, some sort of bizarre worldwide military movement to insert St Augustine’s name arbitrarily into copies of conciliar texts which remained largely undefined.

            Point: “We can be sure of one thing: Augustine’s triadology and soteriology are heresy par excellence. Perhaps, too, you can notice the spirit of his theology, etc.?”

            I’m not saying he didn’t make errors. The Church has always understood this. What I no longer do is make statements such as “heresy par excellence” when discussing one of the most prolific authors of the Church. In a time when writing was expensive, St Augustine wrote many times more than any modern Orthodox writer, and the cold fact remains that while it is easy for us to isolate sermons, lines even to “the bulk of his teaching”, we neglect how much pure and simple Orthodox teaching there was there. In this, Marlon is absolutely correct– both Sts Leo and Gregory were heavily influenced by the teaching of St Augustine, whose theological writings appeared shortly afterwards in the lessons of Matins, affected virtually all later Western saints,

            Point: “Did you that on his death bed the last thing he uttered was a quotation from Plotinus?”

            I thought I did know that actually, because I had read your writing on the matter and assumed it to be true.

            But then today I looked it up. And I found something else.

            See, I was always taught to check things first against the Patristic sources whenever possible. What I didn’t realize is that you and the other writers were influenced by the modern Protestant writer Peter Brown’s “Augustine of Hippo: A Biography” where he writes: “In the midst of these evils, he was comforted by the saying of a certain wise man: ‘He is no great man who thinks it a great thing that sticks and stones should fall, and that men, who must die, should die.’ The ‘certain wise man’, of course, is none other than Plotinus. Augustine, the Catholic bishop, will retire to his deathbed with these words of a proud pagan sage.”

            The footnote contains the reference to St Possidius’ Life of St Augustine, which, as we know, is now online. Were one to simply search for the text in St Possidius’ life, one would indeed find Plotinus’ words– but not at the Saint’s deathbed, where he recited the words of Psalms he had placed on the walls to read, but during the destruction of the cities by the Vandals:

            Amid these calamities [the sack of the cities– DJS] he was consoled by the thought of a certain wise man who said: “He is not to be thought great who thinks it strange that wood and stones should fall and mortals die.” But Augustine, being exceeding wise, daily bewailed all these events. And it increased his grief and sorrow that this same enemy also came to besiege the city of the Hippo-Regians…

            Thus we can clearly see that there is no basis in St Possidius to claim that St Augustine died with the words of Plotinus on his lips.

            The claim is false. In fact, the modern book Last Words, citing McClure’s “Mistakes of Ingersoll”, 1882, claims his last words were in fact “Oh why not now? But Thy will be done; come, Lord Jesus.” I am not sure of McClure’s source. But I am certain yours is wholly incorrect.

            Point: “Who were the libri Carolini?”

            I thought the Libri Carolini were semi-iconoclast works written in response to a poor translation of the decrees of the Ecumenical Council, and alleged to be written by Charlemagne, and were at least written at his behest. A version of them were condemned and refuted by Pope Adrian I.

            Point: “What happened at the Benedictine Monastery at Corbe?”

            I haven’t the foggiest.

            Point: “Read Thomas Aquinas. See how he relies on Augustine.”

            Many heretics claim to rely on St Augustine. Countless more claim to rely on the Sacred Scriptures. This proves nothing.

            Point: “Who is Anselm of Canterbury?”

            I know, but I’d be equally justified in saying “I don’t care”, or “it’s irrelevant to your argument”.

            Point: “Read Hugh of St Victor, “the new Augustine.””

            Why, if we’re talking about the old one?

            Point: “Did you know that Calvin called Augustine his “alter-ego”?”

            I’m sure the Saint didn’t share his opinion!

            Point: “Maybe you like Luther better?”

            I don’t know. I think Luther would love the idea of removing saints from the calendar piecemeal, revising liturgies… precisely the things folks who endorse removing St Augustine have actually done!

            In short, I don’t see much logic or reason in the massive attack on St Augustine. He contributed a great deal of teaching in his sermons and theological writings which is wholly Orthodox. Where he is wrong, the Consensus Patrum corrects him. What is tragic is that while the Saint recognized this, his modern detractors do not. As to your final question about rationalism, I fail to see your point in it.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Fr. Deacon,

            That was excellent! These issues and objections have been circulating for years. You should write something up on this.

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            Thanks! But nah. I’m out of the apologetics “scene” and have been for years. I help out on this website; I really see Fr E. and Anastasios as “in charge” right now, and I spent the past couple of years writing about soccer. I’m taking a “break” for Great Lent. There are loads of intelligent people capable of writing about this, and many are right here on this website commenting. In short, I’m sure some smart guy could answer this stuff.

            For me, responding to Fr Michael is personal; reading Romanides, et al, and believing it, and then getting out of it are part of my own life in Orthodoxy. That’s the only reason I am even responding.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            I hear you. This stuff can be exhausting. I even find it to be an impediment to prayer. I’ll be trying to pray and then start thinking about something witty to make a point. Is it for me or Christ at that point?? Lord have mercy!!

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            My Metropolitan and someone I am proud to say is my Spiritual Father gave me some salient advice a long time ago about that– if you feel yourself getting even close to exhausted on it– stop. Respond about something else, or do something else, and sleep on your response.

            My writing output reduced, but improved tenfold. And you’ll sleep better with what you *do* write.

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            You are doing it again. Let’s take one at a time. The most ancient MS of the Greek Liturgy of St James dates the 9th c. Yet, it seems to presuppose an earlier text. Patrologia Orientalis 9vol. 26) includes a diptych with the name of Augustine. S. Salville notes that this list is absent from the textus receptus (Une mention de Saint Agusutin dans le diptyques de la liturgie grecque de Saint James,” L’Annee Theologique XI (1950), 54 note 1). The inclusion of Augustine’s name in the official Roman Ctholic version of the Liturgy is arbitrary (Ib. 56). What did the Crusaders may done to the manuscripts while the occupied the city of Jerusalem, we can only imagine.
            Reinold Seeberig writes that even though St Gregory Dialogist was well acquainted with the writings of Augustine, “scarcely anything.anything is Augustinian.” Gregory was monastic “of Eastern flavor, Augustine was not” (neither). If you want to know about the influence of Augustine on St Leo, read the Archbishop’s letters and sermons.
            Are you so determined that Augustine is a Saint and Father, that nothing in his writings can convince you otherwise. And read, yes, read Fr John Romanides and Christos Yannaras. If you like read my book, The Influence of Augustine on the Orthodox Church. Well, maybe not; they are both “screwy.” If you are a genuine Orthodox, read Augustine and tell me with what you agree. Disprove my critique of his teachings. No more parallel. Thanks for correcting my errors; but that will not justify your approval of his doctrine.
            Consider one more thing: if Augustine is right you are now either elect or reprobate, a condition which no one can alter since God in His secret and eternal decision has already condemned or saved you.

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            I’m going to respond in points, Father– because I used up a lot of my time writing the last one, and I have to get back to work making billions of dollars or cooking dinner, whichever sounds more realistic.

            1) I can’t believe you’re saying that the 9th century Liturgy of St James “seems” to presuppose an earlier text. I always thought it was written by… St James!

            2) Again, we simply don’t need to refer to the Greek at all when we can also refer to the Syriac versions of the text. In none of them was St Augustine present because he wasn’t a local Saint. I wasn’t the one who brought up the Crusaders making an alteration– you were– and now you are in fact undermining your point. I never used the liturgies as proof that someone is a Saint or our list would become considerably shorter.

            3) I find it interesting that you’re telling me to read St Augustine on the one hand but then trusting a 19th century German writer’s interpretation on the other. I have, in fact read quite a bit of St Augustine. I’ve referenced him often in his sermons, which, along with St John Chrysostom, comprise the most organized groupings of biblical commentary we have today. I’ve seen bits and pieces of his polemic writings, and I am not a fan of his style at times. But on matters you are discussing, other Fathers have written better, more clearly, and I simply haven’t had reason to see him any differently than the others. So on his sermons alone, I’ve not only read most of them on the Gospel and Epistles, but recommended them to others.

            4) I’ve not only read a number of your works and essays on St Augustine (and once upon a time believed they were factually unassailable) I also read Romanides a great deal and used his writings as the basis of a history paper in college. Years later, I have to admit both of what you wrote has value in so many places. But at the same time, there are errors. In many ways, I see you and Fr John Romanides in the same way I see St Augustine: having a great deal of value but in some places, following St Photios and St Mark of Ephesus, taking cum granis salis.

            5) If I think St Augustine is wrong against the Consensus Patrum on that why would I endorse it? Saints were not infallible. Their consensus is. But I do know God knows when I will die, and I do know God knows both what I have done and what I will do. I can only hope that I can attain His mercy,

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            Any further discussion about Augustine is futile. You refuse to follow the evidence where it leads. Of course, you could be *predestined *to eternal life.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Fr. Michael,

            I hold St. Augustine to be a Saint because the witness of the Church in the West and those who were familiar with him in the East.

            Pope St. Celestine I died ca. 432

            We have always held Augustine a man of holy memory because of his life and also of his services in our communion, nor has even report ever sullied him with unfavorable suspicion. We recall him as having once been a man of such great knowledge that even by my predecessors in the past he was always accounted among the best teachers. (Ep. 21 “Apostolici Verba Praecepti” to the Bishops of the Gaul, 431)

            Pope Celestine I excommunicated Nestorius, procured the condemnation of the Pelagians at the Council of Ephesus and sent St. Patrick to Ireland. I trust him.

            Pope St. Leo’s Tome has been called a “digest of Augustinian quotes”. Pope Vigilius used Bl. Augustine as his model for retracting errors (see the Decretal Letter to the Fifth Ecumenical Synod) and Emperor St. Justinian used him as his model to anathematize the dead:

            “That heretics should be anathematized even after death St. Augustine, bishop of the African Region, writes and says in his letter to Boniface: ‘Even if the charges these men raised concerning you and Cecilianus were proved true, we would still anathematize this man even if he had died. Even so, we must not forsake the Church of Christ because of some individual, for the Church is not altered by the opinions of contentious men, but is confirmed by divine testimonies.’ [St. Augustine Ep. 185] These statements come from St. Augustine.” (A Letter on the Three Chapters)

            Lastly, he’s even called “the Divine Augustine” in the 1944 Pastoral Encyclical of Met. Chrysostom of Florina. I won’t even mention the Ecumenical Councils, the Rudder (mentioned 52 times in the Masterjohn edition) and the Russian saints.

            Fr. Michael, is there a patristic tradition that speaks of Augustine in the way you do? I have plenty of Fathers and confessors that set the precedent for me.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            But did Pope St. Celestine or the Fathers of the 5th Council know read all of Augustine’s works? Did they even know that he was teaching double-predestinationism (which was condemned numerous times in the west, from the 5th century all the way to the 9th century, consistently, and the free will of man vindicated)? Fr. Michael’s point is that, the writings of Augustine were so voluminous 60 book volumes and a multitude of letters and sermons, that even people in the West probably only read ‘florigella’ or the greatest hits, along with short non-controversial sermons excerpts occasionally in the Matin’s office, and thus had little ‘intense’ study of his works. Even during the controversies in the 9th century between Gottschalk and Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims, the synods of Quierz and Valence condemned what was essentially the Augustinian teaching on the subject, with the councils affirming that ‘predestination’ was a matter of Divine foreknowledge, the God desired all men to be saved, and Christ died on the Cross for all. Gottschalk, who taught the contrary views, died excommunicate. His allies, such as Ratramnus, Prudentius, etc, were later to be excoriated in memory with the former’s views on the Eucharist and the later renounced Gottschalk’s teaching.

            I think Fr. Michael’s other point is that in the East, the writings of Augustine would become even little more known with the lapse in Latin learning in the East (probably sometime after Heraclius the Emperor). Thus, St. Photius could not know his writings.

            However, there is still the question as to the authenticity of the many of the claimed writings attributed to Augustine. It is entirely possible that much of what is erroneous is not his, just as there were many writings circulating in the middle-ages that were attributed to him (such as the Pseudo-Augustinian Homily on the Dormition).

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            Again, read Augustine. Meet my challenge directly. I have heard too many debates in which the arguments are parallel. One side offers its position, the other side its position. Never is the other side refuted. You are doing the same here.
            The West did not nominate Augustine as Saint and Doctor until the 9th century; hence, my reference to the Libri Carolini. Here also is where St Photius learned about Augustine. Before that time, his knowledge of him was almost nil. Education among the Franks said almost nothing about Augustine. Several Western consuls took up his authority under Caesarius of Arles, a leader of the Augustinian party. They did not have all the documentation saved in the Vatican Library. They were opposed by St Faustus of Riez. None of the Latin Fathers supported Augustine. Read St Hillary of Poitiers, St Ambrose of Milan, St Nicetas of Remasiana, St Peter Chrysologus, St Valerian of Cimez, S Leo the Great, St Gregory Dialogus, etc.
            St Celestine did not know much about Augustine, but because of the latter’s successful opposition to the heresies, he respected him. When Western theologians began to criticize him, the Bishop of Rome called a halt to the castigations; nevertheless, St Vincent of Lerins wrote his Commonitorium, a subtle criticism of Augustine.
            Will you show me where my record is false. Answer me point by point. Also, read M. Jugie, “St Augustin dan la litterature theologique de l’Eglise russe,” Echos d’Orient XXXIII. 160 (1930), 385-395. Also tell me about “original sin,” “freedom of the will,” predestination, filioque, cataphatic theoogy and the Platonic Ideas, quasi-Nestorian christology, his idea of sex, etc. In which of these is Augustine Orthodox?

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Fr. Michael,

            Meet my challenge. Is there a patristic tradition, early or contemporary, that speaks of Augustine as the “fountainhead of western heresies”? I’ve supplied patristic evidence, can you?

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            Yes, I can. Read the history of post-patristic Western intellectual tradition. See for yourself. There is no substitute for reading Augustine himself. Read.

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Fr. Michael,

            Forgive me. I’ve read Bl. Augustine and I’m aware he erred in varying ways. My challenge is: show me some Saints that call Augustine “fountainhead of heresies”. Does this view of yours have a patristic provenance? You’re telling me to use my own limited interpretation of post-Patristic western tradition instead of telling me to TRUST in the saints. This is what the modernists do: “Who cares that the Severos and other prominent Monophysites were condemned by name at the Ecumenical Councils… read Severos for yourself, he sounds just like Cyril”.

            I just don’t trust myself or Jugie more than the Saints or the Church that allowed Bl. Augustine to make into the Calendar. I guess I’m a naive fundamentalist then.

          • Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

            filoque is an error? original sin an error? created and irresistible grace is an error? denial of free will an error? “perseverance of the saints” is an error? Plato’s Ideas in the Mind of God an error? There are soul-destroying heresies. Which books of Augustine have you read? Let the discussion here. Believe what you will.

          • HmkEnoch says:

            Just so we don’t ‘clutter’ up the comments, there is always the NFTU Forum!

          • Marlon Scott says:

            Point taken!

          • Deacon Joseph @ NFTU says:

            The catholicity of Fr Michael’s knowledge always continues to astound me

    • HmkEnoch says:

      Fr. Michael, if you go here:

      you will now be able to read both the Official Greek text and the English translation of the main document of the union, entitled “The True Orthodox Church in Opposition to the Heresy of Ecumenism”, wherein are found the ‘controversial’ passages (noticeably, part vi, section vi).

  2. Thymoleon says:

    Firstly, the contrast between “word” and “deed” displays a typical plebeian distrust of the written word.

    Secondly, the follow excerpt–“and after that in deed the Cyprianites must be baptized”–is enough to discredit these Bulgarian priests to the point where a rational person is justified in ignoring them.

    Finally, this post is a rather tragicomical example of the proverbial “Bulgarian head”.

    • HmkEnoch says:

      Firstly, I’m not that educated, but, is being ‘plebeian’ and having a distrust between “word” and “deed” being displayed supposed to be bad or good?

      Secondly, I think they are upset because a former Cyprianite priest, a Fr. Cassian, when he joined the GOC-K in Bulgaria some years back was baptized and chrismated and ordained, even though he had undergone all these things as part of the Cyprianites (or some variation of that with the SiR). I think they may be upset that he had to do all that, while the rest of the Cyprianites are granted a pass. So to them, it seems like hypocrisy.
      Admittedly, it is not a great point, since, discrepancies in how the Church receives people, even from the same former confession are often widely different.

      What is the proverbial “Bulgarian head”?

      • Thymoleon says:

        The proverbial “Bulgarian head” describes someones who is impossibly stubborn in the manner of the stout, hardy, yet obdurate Bulgarian peasants of the pre-modern era. Various Balkan peoples describe such a person having a “Bulgarian head”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Strictness and economia are allowed. Since the Cyprianites have always been viewed as heretics, strictness (baptism) is allowed by Orthodox teaching.

    • Anonymous says:

      You didn’t give an argument or reason for why the Bulgarian website lacks credibility. Calling people names and questioning motives is childish. I would encourage you to take a class in ethics or logic.

      • Thymoleon says:

        Here is my reason: rebaptism is unreasonable in their case. To the extent that repentant ecumenists are not rebaptized (provided there is no defect in the form of their original baptism), it is not reasonable to rebaptize the Cyprianites or any other schismatic group returning to the canonical TOC, especially when they return en masse.

        Economy is exercised by the Hierarchs. They have a sound policy and they apply it consistently. It is unfitting and anti-ecclesiastical for internet bloggers to demand exactitude and explanations from Hierarchs.

  3. Fr. Michael Azkoul says:

    Will someone please tell me what is the heresy or heresies of the “Cyprianists”? I was under the impression that they had once given the Mysteries to New Calendarists and/or Ecumeninsts. That must have changed before any union with them was possible. What else?

    • HmkEnoch says:

      Before the union, the Cyprianites, unless we are all mistaken, had stopped such practice. They had also begun to receive people from the new calendar and ecumenists churches by Chrismation.

    • HmkEnoch says:

      The accusation of heresy comes fundamentally from their statement that the ecumenists/modernists are still part of the Church until an ecumenical council evicts them.

  4. HmkEnoch says:

    I don’t think there is going to be a resolution to the “Augustine Question” in the comment section of an NFTU post about Bulgarians upset about the GOC (K) and SiR union.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Father Azkoul obviously does not have a clue as to what his own church originally believed. So why is he in their church? Even Vladimir Moss is critical of the union.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *