HOCNA Holds Annual Clergy Synaxis

HOCNA Clergy Synaxis 2014
HOCNA Clergy Synaxis 2014

The Holy Orthodox Church in North America convened its annual Clergy Synaxis on Friday, October 3, and Saturday, October 4, 2014, at St. Anna’s Hall in Roslinndale, MA, followed by a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 5, at St. Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral, also in Roslindale. Present were Their Eminences, Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston and Metropolitan Makarios of Toronto, and Their Graces, Bishop Gregory of Brookline and Bishop Andrew of Markham, along with a little under twenty clergy. (Continue reading at the source, or see photos here and here).

The article mentions the following talks were presented:

  • “Human Language and Divine Revelation: On the Theological Nominalism of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and Fr. John Romanides” (Hierodeacon Samuel of Holy Transfiguration Monastery).
  • “The Kallinikos-Cyprian-Agafangel Unity Agreement of Old Calendar Synods in March 2014: An Act of Betrayal Against the Legacy of Saint Philaret the New Confessor and Against the True Orthodox Christians of Greece” (Thomas S. Deretich of Boston).
  • Various matters of practical pastoral concern (Protopresbyter Andrew Boroda of the Prophet Elias Orthodox Church in St. Paul, MN).
Editorial Comment: are either Fr. Samuel’s or Mr. Deretich’s talks available anywhere online? If not, might they be soon? I think they might be of interest to NFTU readers.

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Anastasios Hudson is an Orthodox Christian author, speaker, and web developer living in Reston, Virginia. He is the author of Metropolitan Petros of Astoria: A Microcosm of the Old Calendar Movement in America (2014). Your purchase of this book, which is available at the low price of 7.99 (print) and 4.99 (eBook) will help him support his family! His personal website is AnastasiosHudson.com and his Facebook page is located here.

34 thoughts on “HOCNA Holds Annual Clergy Synaxis

  • October 24, 2014 at 11:36 am

    This Dedication is from the 1974 Psalter, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery.

    • October 25, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      Nice find George!

  • October 25, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Here is that dedication. Very interesting.

    • October 28, 2014 at 12:21 am

      Forgive me, I cannot figure it out. What is interesting about it?

      • October 28, 2014 at 3:20 am

        That HOCNA is now devoting talks to denigrating the person of Metropolitan Anthony thanks to the Imyabozhists whereas before they held him in extremely high regard.

        • October 28, 2014 at 3:17 pm

          Ah! Yes, it is a shame.

          • November 27, 2014 at 3:20 am

            It is an undeniable historical fact that Archbishop Antony Khrapovitsky made a theological mistake: he claimed falsely that Saint Gregory Palamas “requires that one call the energy of God not God, but rather divine and to refer to it, not as God but as ‘Divine’ or ‘Divineness’ …. The energy and will of God have divineness (although without being God)” (Report on Antony Bulatovich, May 1913). The Orthodox Church, in contrast, teaches, that God’s energies are “God” (Saint Anastasius of Sinai; Council of 1351); “every power or energy [of God] is God Himself” (Saint Gregory Palamas); and “there is in God both the divine essence and the divine energy” (Synodicon). It is not “denigrating” anyone to point out that the Church must follow the traditional teaching and reject Archbishop Antony’s error. Metropolitan Antony continues to be commemorated at the Great Entrance and his picture still adorns the walls that it has long adorned. No one is ripping out the dedication page in the Psalter. In the Orthodox Church, Theodoret of Cyrrhus is frequently called “Blessed,” even though his errant writings against Saint Cyril of Alexandria were specifically censured by the Fifth Ecumenical Synod. Similarly, the balanced Orthodox view is to reject Archbishop Antony’s error on the energies of God and to honor his virtues. It is not a balanced Orthodox view to have an emotional attachment to him and to his error that is stronger than one’s attachment to Orthodox dogma. We can best honor his memory by reaffirming our commitment to Orthodox dogma and rejecting his mistake.

          • November 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm

            Dear Father Enoch, You agree that God’s energies are uncreated. That is great. Do you also agree with the dogma that there is in God both essence and energy and that God’s energies are “God Himself”? Do you reject the false assertion of Archbishop Antony Khrapovitsky in May 1913 that God’s energies are “not God”?

          • November 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm

            I’ll save you the trouble. Fr Enoch likely (a) agrees with the first statement and (b) would categorize Metr Anthony’s words as either a misstatement or incorrect.

            That said, the Name of God is NOT an Energy of God.

            You seem to have created this account just to argue this point.

          • November 28, 2014 at 12:47 am

            O.K. Great. Everyone seems to agree that (1) it is a dogma that “every power or energy [of God] is God Himself” and (2) it was an error to claim in May 1913 that God’s energies are “not God, especially not God Himself.” That is progress. Now, can we all agree that we give divine worship (latreia) to God’s powers or energies? The divine services frequently have the refrains “Glory to Thy power, O Lord”; “Glory to Thy power, O Christ”; “Glory to Thy power, O Friend of man.” So we do give divine worship to God’s powers or energies, as we give divine worship to God’s essence, because, as the Synodicon repeats, God’s essence and energies are “without separation.” Orthodox Christians give divine worship to all the fullness of God “without separation,” and, therefore, we give divine worship to God’s powers or energies, because they cannot be separated from the divine essence that we worship. We can all agree on that.

          • November 28, 2014 at 1:07 am

            While I’m sure we’d all agree that Orthodox give latreia to the Divine Energies as well as the Divine Essence, your division– if placed in context– is somewhat demented. Orthodox aren’t praying as if they recite “Glory to thy power, O Lord” thinking “oh, wait, did I just glorify His Essence or His Energy?”

            As you yourself have pointed out from the Synodicon, God’s essence and energies are without separation. So I am a tad confused as to why you think we don’t worship God’s Energies. We also worship His Essence. Because we *worship God*.

            Since we all believe this, let’s stop with the quizzes and get to the point. What is it?

          • November 28, 2014 at 2:03 am

            My point (or, more accurately, my goal) is agreement in the dogmas of the Orthodox Faith. You and I agree that we worship the essence and energy of God without separation. That is good. The problem is that other individuals deny this Orthodox teaching. If one carefully reads Father Michael Azkoul’s letter (linked by Hieromonk Enoch), Father Michael claims: “Although the Energies of God may be called God (“divinity”) as emanating from Him, they are Operations of God. We do not worship the Energies or Operations whatever form they take. The Energies or Operations are divine Forces or Powers. They are impersonal…. In any case, we do not worship the Essence or the Energy, not even the mystery of divine Incarnating Itself, only the Incarnate Lord.” This, of course, is completely contrary to the dogma of the Seventh Ecumenical Council that we worship “the divine nature” (nature = essence) and the services that teach that we worship God’s “power” (power = energy). So, the point here is that Father Michael is claiming that God’s energies “may [!!!???] be called God,” but he denies them divine worship in a blatant contradiction to the dogma of the Orthodox Church that we worship God’s nature (essence) and power (energy) which are inseparable from the three divine hypostases. So, one of my points here is that not only did Archbishop Antony’s polemics cause him to make an error on dogma, but also Father Michael’s polemics caused him to make an error on dogma. My point then is that God’s powers or energies are God Himself and must be worshipped as God Himself — and we must, therefore, reject the errors on dogma that were expressed by Archbishop Antony and Father Michael in their polemics. Everyone should accept what the Orthodox Church teaches on God’s energies and reject what Archbishop Antony Khrapovitsky and Father Michael Azkoul — mistakenly — have taught on God’s energies. Since we can all agree on that, we have made even more progress.

          • November 28, 2014 at 2:59 am

            Methinks thou art making mountains of molehills.

            Fr Michael’s main point is that essence and energies are existential aspects of God, not personal ones, as the Persons of God are Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

            I think where we find resolution to the confusion in the Synodicon is here: “Again, to those same men who think and say that the name ‘Godhead’ or ‘Divinity’ can be applied only to the essence of God, but who do not confess in accord with the divinely-inspired theologies of the saints and the pious mind of the Church, that this appellation equally pertains to the Divine energy, and that thus one Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is by all means still professed, whether one apply the name ‘Godhead’ to Their essence, or to Their energy, as the divine expounders of the mysteries have instructed us, Anathema”.

            Now it may sound like I’m saying we’re both right here, and I’m not– I think I see where you are going, and you may well be quite wrong as far as I know– but my central point is that the Godhead of the Holy Trinity is still professed whether you are talking about God in His Essence or Energies, but Orthodox practice has always been, when we refer to, or pray to, or worship God, to address the Godhead directly, not the Essence nor the Energies.

            This is far closer to what Fr Michael (and likely Metr Anthony) clearly *meant* in that we do not specifically worship the Essence or the Energies as a general rule (certainly we glorify His power but not as Power itself, but as something which emanates from God. Indeed, such language can be found in the Synodicon as well: “…to those then who in nowise wish to comprehend that, even as there is an unconfused union of God’s essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable; to them, therefore, who profess such impieties, Anathema.”

            The text above is clear: Orthodox are to confess the essence and the energies, but these mystical definitions do not strictly comprise our prayer because practically *this isn’t how we actually address others*. My face is a part of me (and yes, I know the essence and energies are not “part of God” but comprise His being, just follow my logic here) but you don’t refer to me by my face. You wouldn’t address me as “Father Joseph’s face, hands, soul, whatever”. You would address me directly, using my *name*, which is an appellation for my *person*.

            Even the three examples you gave earlier: ““Glory to Thy power, O Lord”; “Glory to Thy power, O Christ”; “Glory to Thy power, O Friend of man,” address the Energies indirectly– as a *property* of God.

            So before decrying Fr Michael as some kind of heretic (I think he has his issues, such as with Blessed Augustine, et cetera) I’d assume his attempt at clarification was somewhat less than correct when looking at the Synodicon. At worst he’s likely guilty of being unclear, but I sincerely doubt he denies the Divinity of the Energies of God, so I doubt I’d anathematize him for that one.

            I would write him personally and point that out were I you, though; I’d gladly read his response.

            All that said, the Name of God is neither the Essence nor Energy of God, and when we can get that out of the way, I’ll be glad to stop being suspicious and assume the purity of your intentions.

          • November 28, 2014 at 8:55 am

            Yes, the term “Divine Nature” can apply to the Essence, but it can also mean the “Divinity” or “Godhead” in ‘general’ (if I may say that). Thus, St. Peter the Apostle in 2nd Peter 1:4 states: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by
            these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the
            corruption that is in the world through lust.”

            Obviously, no Orthodox Christian is going to say, “Ah; because Nature=Essence, therefore, we partake in the Divine Essence!” Instead, they know that the term can have a more general meaning; thus, St. Peter refers to participation in Divinity in that man can, i.e., in the Uncreated Operation or Energies of the God.

          • November 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm

            Dear Father Enoch, I agree. In fact, I wanted to add a parenthetical comment (or endnote) about how “nature” is not always used as a synonym for “essence,” especially in 2 Peter 1:4. That Scripture uses “nature” to refer to what would later be called “natural energy.” I am fully aware that words such as physis, ousia, hypostasis, prosopon, dynamis, and energeia are each sometimes used differently at different historical periods. However, I decided not to distract the discussion at that point. My point was that Orthodox texts (scriptural, conciliar, patristic, liturgical) do not refer only to giving divine worship to the three Persons but also to worshipping God’s “nature” and “power.” Since the Church worships God’s nature and power, the Church worships God’s essence and energy. I should have also added that I recall seeing Father Michael Azkoul write — more than just once — something to the effect that: we worship the Divine Persons, not the essence or energy. This is wrong. And it is a serious misstatement of Orthodox doctrine and worship. When such statements (we don’t worship the energy) are coupled with his statement that we “may” (!!!???) call God’s energies “God,” there is room for doubt about whether he and others really believe without reservation that “every power or energy [of God] is God Himself.” Add to this equivocation the statements over the last three years by a few individuals that Archbishop Antony’s and Archbishop Sergius’s dogmatic errors in May 1913 were merely grammatical, merely historical, molehills not mountains—then I wonder: Are people just paying lip-service to the Orthodox dogma that God’s energies are God Himself. Do they, deep down, really agree with Archbishop Antony’s Latin error that God’s energies “have Divineness (although without being God)”? If a person says that God’s energies “may” (!!!???) be called “God,” but must not be worshipped, he has an un-Orthodox conception of God and is denying the dogma that “every power or energy [of God] is God Himself” and he is contradicting Orthodox worship, which gives divine worship to God’s power/energy. These are issues of utmost dogmatic importance for all of us. When the Orthodox Church says that God’s energies are God Himself and are worshipped as God Himself, whereas a couple of modern individuals say “not God, especially not God Himself,” we must chose the first without any hesitation and reject the error without hesitation. When Father Michael claims that we worship the Persons, not the essence or energy, we must say: That is wrong. We worship the nature and power of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—without separation. Since we all agree on that, logically, we cannot endorse statements by Archbishop Antony, Archbishop Sergius, and Father Michael that say the opposite. I think we all agree on this.

          • November 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm

            ” My point was that Orthodox texts (scriptural, conciliar, patristic, liturgical) do not refer only to giving divine worship to the three Persons but also to worshipping God’s “nature” and “power.” Since the Church worships God’s nature and power, the Church worships God’s essence and energy.”

            Psst…. you’re doing it again, splitting up what there’s no need to split up. And you haven’t answered the simple question of whether you think the Name of God is an energy of God or not. Assuming you believe this, but are looking for one of us to “slip up”, is disingenuous.

          • November 29, 2014 at 2:51 pm

            What about when we write, “Glory to Thy Cross”? Are we worshipping the Cross as an energy of God? It seems to me that people are taking such statements (personification) as overly literal, when they are meant to be poetic. For instance, on Holy Friday, “all creation groaned, when it saw Thee…”? We worship persons, not impersonal entities…

          • November 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm

            The source of the Divinity of the Son and the Spirit is the hypostasis of the Father, not the ousia…that is a further point for consideration, I think.

          • November 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm

            I believe I did mention that up above; the Father is the Source, or Arche, of the Trinity, with the Son Eternally Begotten from Him and the Holy Ghost Eternally Proceeding Alone from Him, with both the Son and Spirit being Consubstantial (or Homousios) with the Father by virtue of this.

          • November 29, 2014 at 6:14 pm

            Indeed, imagine if you took the Akathist to the Holy Cross, and replaced “Holy Cross” with “Holy Name”, or such; I’m sure we’d never hear the end of it. But, when it is the Holy Cross, we understand such phrases as “Glory to Thy Cross”, or even “We adore Thy Cross”, or “the Divine Power of the Cross”, etc, we understand the import of what these mean.

          • November 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

            Yes, in God there is a real, distinction between Essence and Energy, with the Persons. The Father is the Source, with the Son Eternally Begotten before all time, and the Holy Ghost Eternally Proceeding Alone from the Father before all time, with the Son and Holy Ghost being consubstantial (homousios) with the Father. God’s Energies are Uncreated and therefore God (though it nowhere states God is the Name Uncreated, etc). Met. Anthony, as far as I have read, did not make any clearly false statement; it is possible he used a terminology that was not entirely clearly. Met. Anthony also make statements that generated controversy on the doctrine of Christ’s Propitiatory Sacrifice.

          • December 10, 2014 at 7:59 pm

            Archbishop Sergius Stragorodsky, Archbishop Antony Khrapovitsky, five other Russian bishops, and the official newspaper of the Patriarchate of Constantinople made a false statement — a clearly false statement — in 1913 when they claimed that God’s powers or energies were “merely Divinity, not God, especially not ‘God Himself’” (только Божеством, а не Богом, тем более не “Богом Самим”; ἁπλῶς θεότητα, οὐχὶ δὲ Θεὸν, πολλῷ δ’ ἥττον “αὐτὸν τὸν Θεὸν”). That was the exact opposite of what the consensus of all of the Orthodox Churches teaches.

            The consensus of all of the Orthodox Churches teaches, in the words of the great Council of Constantinople in 1351, that “obviously” God’s energies are “God.” The Churches all teach, in the words of Saint Gregory Palamas, that “Every power or energy [of God] is God Himself” (ἑκάστη δύναμις ἢ ἐνέργεια [τοῦ Θεοῦ] αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ Θεός ). The consensus teaches, in words contained in the Philokalía, that “God Himself is [both] the divine essence and the divine energy” (ὁ αὐτὸς Θεός ἐστιν ἡ θεία οὐσία καὶ ἡ θεία ἐνέργεια); or, to translate the same phrase slightly differently, “the same God is [both] the divine essence and the divine energy.” The Church teaches, in the words of the Lenten Triodion’s Synodicon of Orthodoxy, that “there is in God both His essence and His essential and natural energy” (οὐσίαν τε ἐπὶ Θεοῦ, καὶ οὐσιώδη καὶ φυσικὴν τούτου ἐνέργειαν).

            The Orthodox Church teaches that God’s powers are “God Himself” and the mistaken Russian and Greek theologians from 1913 taught that God’s powers were “not God, especially not ‘God Himself.’” The first is “obviously” true (Council of 1351) and the second is a clearly false statement.

            The distinction between “merely Divinity” (только Божеством, ἁπλῶς θεότητα) and “God” (Бог, Θεός) is completely contrary to Orthodox dogma and liturgy. The Orthodox Church worships the one true God, Who is the one true Divinity. The one Divinity is the one God. The prayers of the Orthodox Church use “God” (Θεός) interchangeably with “Divinity” (Θεότης). The two words can be different grammatically, since “Divinity” means “Godhood,” but they refer to the same thing. We can say that God “has” Godhood. But we can also say that God “is” the Divinity/Deity/Godhood/Godhead. The theologians of 1913 grossly misrepresented the theology of the Orthodox Church.

            How can we Christians — how can we monotheists — believe in a “Divinity” or “Godhood” that is not God Himself? We cannot. There is no “Divinity” between the Creator Himself and creation. That is why the Church teaches that “Every power or energy [of God] is God Himself.” That is why Orthodox Christians reject the clearly false teaching of a few theologians in 1913 that God’s powers and energies are “merely Divinity, not God, especially not ‘God Himself.’”

          • December 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

            This is also why they reject and anthematize Antony Bulatovich, Gregory Louriye, and others who claim the Name of God is the the Uncreated Energy of God.

          • December 11, 2014 at 10:10 pm

            Just say “the Name of God is not an energy of God” and we’re all good.

            Can you do that?

          • December 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm

            I am not on either side, but am confused about one thing. How do you explain the following passages?
            Blessed be the name of the Lord, from henceforth and forever more?
            And by the name of the Lord I warded them off?
            Our Father, who art in the Heaven, Hallowed be thy name…..
            and so on and so forth.
            I’m not sure anyone is saying that the created names of God are energies, but that the naem God assigend to himself before the ages (which is unknown) is all powerful, as the scripture tells us.

          • December 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm

            That the Name of God is blessed, praised and glorified, but not that it is an energy of God.

            As for the second question, I’m sure. Having dealt with the Luryites which eventually communed with the HOCNA, precipitating the schism, it’s the “$64,000 question”. Name-worshippers worship the Name of God as either an energy or the essence of God (the Luriyites/HOCNA do the former.)

            It’s likely why the author, despite my repeated attempts to get a simple answer from him, has worked to answer everyone else on other issues, and engaged me until I asked him that simple question. Three times, if I recall correctly.

          • November 27, 2014 at 10:43 pm

            It would appear that denigrating all of Metr Anthony’s good by harping on a verbal misstep to defend a group of obscure heretics attempting to make a comeback is the real mistake.

            Shall we assume the new dedication says something like “you done messed up but we still like you sort of, ARCHBISHOP Antony”?

  • November 1, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Mr. Deretich: I would like to read your paper. If you see this, can you please email it to me? anastasios AT anastasioshudson DOT com….thank you!

      • December 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm

        They’re keeping it internal.

        It’s the HOCNA way.

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