Does GOC-Makarios Agree with Condemnation of Name-Worship? What about HOCNA?

(NOTE: The post has been amended to correct some errors perceived about the website. Sorry for any confusion.)


May 31, 2013   As everyone is aware of the controversies in HOCNA, especially the moral charges against Fr. Panteleimon, and the very serious theological charges of the Name-Worship Heresy, it came as a bit of a surprise to some that HOCNA and the GOC-Makarios would enter into Communion.  One of the questions being asked when this took place was, “Does the GOC-Makarios accept Name-Worship as being compatible with the Orthodox Christian Faith?”

On what was initially thought by many to be the closest thing to a GOC-Makarios website (as it was believed by many that the GOC-Makarios had in some sense condemned internt participation), sections of the site have appeared saying “Concerning the Heresy of Onomatolatria” (see here and here for the letters condemning the heresy). Many wonder whether GOC-Makarios officially agrees with the letters and synodal decisions of the Church of Constantionple nearly 100 years ago condemning Name-Worship, as well as agreeing with the Russian Orthodox decisions that followed? Although this appears to be a site that is run by lay people, we wonder if this attitude reflects any popular sentiment in the GOC-Makarios? Does it then follow that there are members of the GOC-Makarios that are against Name-Worship, viewing it as a condemned heresy? If this is so, then, what about the fact that it still seems, that HOCNA hierarchs have made no renunciation of Name-Worship?

During the crisis over the past few years inside HOCNA, the two main issues brought forward were 1) the Moral Conduct of Fr. Panteleimon, and 2) the Issue of Name-Worship Heresy. In deed, the departures of Metropolitan Moses, Bishop Sergios, and Bp. Demetrius, along with a large number of parishes, missions, clergy, laity, and monastics was founded upon these charges. Of course, there were always the issues of HOCNA’s canonical normalcy, that did frequently raise questions among its members (mostly precipitated by the manner in which HOCNA achieved its independence during the reign of Archbishop Maximos, the successor to Abp. Auxentios of Blessed Memory).  Yet, such questions of canonical governance have always, it seems, in Orthodox history been covered over to some degree if many felt there were greater justifications (such as the fight against heresy, etc); whether one agrees with the methods or not, this has sadly been a fact (see the cases of St. Meletios of Antioch, or two patriarchs of the Church of Constantinople during the Acacian Schism, which, while much more serious, do at least do provide a way in understanding our situation in modern times in proper context).

The clergy and laity that left HOCNA when it began to allow, and even teaching in some public form, the Name-Worship heresy, were perfectly not only within their rights, but, under obligation to do so.  One can only hope and pray that in the future, the GOC-Makarios will make more clear its official acceptance or rejection of the condemnation of Name-Worship by the old Orthodox Church of Constantinople (that is, prior to the its fall from Orthodoxy). If the GOC-Makarios does indeed agree with these decisions, why did they not have HOCNA make some form of public statement about this matter?

If there are indeed people in the GOC-Makarios that accept the condemnation of the Name-Worship heresy as outlined by the Patriarchal Letters of Germanos V, and the decisions of the Russian Synod, then, how widespread is this? Does it constitute little more than a minority view?  Has there been pressure put on HOCNA to publicly state its adherents to the decrees? It would seem unacceptable for honest GOC-Makarios bishops, clergy, and laity to remain in communion with HOCNA, and with their fellow members, if they believed that HOCNA embraces an heresy, rejects the decrees of Germanus V, and allows all of this wrong doing to be propagated? Hopefully, as time continues we can see more clarification on these issues.