Synod of TOC-R adds “Name-Fighting” to list of Heresies With Support of Luriyites; Communion Near Rupture

V. Moss: On the Ecclesiastical Document, Emails With Bp Ambrose of Methone, & A TOC Major Synod?
July 14, 2014
Metropolitan John: St Philaret Taught Against Name-Worshipping; TOC (R)’s Pronouncements Void
July 25, 2014

Synod of TOC-R adds “Name-Fighting” to list of Heresies With Support of Luriyites; Communion Near Rupture

worldofmetropolitanrafailMetropolitan Raphael and his Synod have added the bizarre claim of “Name Fighting” to a list of heresies alongside ecumenism and Sergianism, according to the Synod’s websites and other reports.

According to both the Synod website and, which actively promotes name-worshipping with funding from Gleb Pavlovsky, the Synod has voted to “restore” the “proper worship” of God’s Name, condemning the Synods which have  condemned the heresy of name-worshipping in the early 20th century.

The website pegged it correctly: “….[name-worshipping] was condemned in 1913 as heresy by the Sacred Community of Mount Athos, as well as the Eastern Patriarchs and Sacred Synod of Constantinople and the Russian Churche. Later, in October 1918, the conviction was reconfirmed name-worshiping by Patriarch Tikhon (Belavin) with the Synod. Thus, TOC (R) condemned as a heretic and the holy Patriarch Tikhon, which derive from its branches all the historical continuity of the CPI.”

Metropolitan John of North & South America and the British Isles, who issued a response to Metropolitan Raphael’s “name-worshipping epistle” last week, expressed surprise among hearing the news: “If this is true, this is unacceptable. If this is the case, we will seek confirmation of their beliefs, under the assumption that this was the work of enemies of the Church.” Metropolitan John, who was invited to go or send representatives to the celebration of Synodal unity, declined to send any delegates citing prior commitments. When asked, he confirmed that the Synod could not remain in communion with open heretics.


  1. Daniel Smith says:

    From the document outlining the confession of faith of metropolitan Raphael:

    “We distinguish the name of God as the uncreated self-revelation of God – both as Divine Energy and created sacred symbol, noetic or material – in which God abides in His name-energy. God, as the Church through the mouths of the Saints salvifically preaches, is unknowable to the created power of the human mind, but can be seen only by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. St. Gregory Palamas, Against Akindynos 4:19); God is known and named not by means of human created thoughts, but by His uncreated Energies (Ibid, 1:3:6). Therefore it is highly impious to think that someone gives names to God in the same way that Adam gave names to the animals (Genesis 2:20). It is not man who by his creaturely power comprehends God and gives Him names, but God Who reveals through grace to man His pre-eternal names (cf. Exodus 3:14). In this sense we speak of the names of God as divine uncreated Energies. But being received by the purified mind of the Holy Prophets, these name-energies are “clothed” in created human thought, being uttered by created sounds or written in created letters. In this sense, we speak of the names of God as sacred symbols and verbal icons that are created images of uncreated name-energies.

    We do not revere the name of God as the divine essence, for God’s essence is unknowable and nameless, and we wholly condemn those who teach such wickedness. We do not deify the variable sounds or letters with which the name of God is expressed in various human languages, as the name-fighters slander the Orthodox, resembling the iconoclasts in this slander, falsely accusing the Orthodox venerators of icons as deifiers of boards and paints. But we revere the verbal names of God that, we believe, are sanctified by the presence in them of the uncreated name-energies.”

    Heresy. What further need have we of witnesses?

  2. […] a peaceable, but firm, letter responding to the TOC (R)’s pronouncements in favor of name-worshipping, Metropolitan John of New York, after consulting with the other Bishops, wrote a letter to […]

  3. Michael Woerl says:

    “Met.” Raphael and his group … Whose “apostolic succession” derives from Ukrainian Autocephalists (when I asked one of their priests about it, he acknowledged the fact, but asked that it not be mentioned, as they “don’t like to talk about it”), and claim to be a “Catacomb Church.” In short-frauds. That’s “True Orthodoxy?” And the former Milan Synod people entered into communion with Raphael because …. ? Similar “Ukrainian roots?” Or … any group adopting the name is … “in?”

    • Dcn Joseph Suaiden says:

      I can’t tell if these are real questions or just insults. I’ll assume the former.

      1. Ok, first off, quite a few errors here, though I would guess from your perspective the answers wouldn’t be any better. The “TOC-R” was actually formed by a merger of (if I remember correctly) four different Russian groups, one of which included the Ukrainian initiative group, but also a couple of Bishops of the Seraphimo-Gennadites, and a pair of other small jurisdictions in 1997. They attempted to contact all existing Bishops in Russia, and if I remember correctly those of the ROCOR “family” steadfastly refused to have anything to do with them. (Which makes a bit of sense, as one could argue the whole Sobor was a response to the failure of such churches to make inroads in Russia. (Since I don’t believe the SG’s are “frauds”, nor does Metropolitan Agafangel, since he took in two of their Bishops, it’s at least partially a slur, regardless of one’s opinion of Met. Raphael (Prokofiev) personally.)

      2. To make a long story short, we entered into communion with Raphael by proxy, as Metr. Angelos of Avlonos had already entered into communion with Metr. Raphael months after we were given our autonomy. This apparently enraged Abp Abundius of Lecco, who apparently had this great plan — unbeknownst to us– to join the MP by giving them all of Milan’s buildings (they finally, it seems, dropped this plan after giving away almost all of them with nothing to show for it) and wasn’t going to have this messed up by some “Catacomb Church” in Russia (I guess for MP people, “Catacomb” is an insult, which is kind of dumb).

      To fix this problem, he made a nice little statement that Milan recognizes no “Russian church” except the Moscow Patriarchate, which we attempted to clarify for three months with letters, emails, and phone calls to no avail. Meanwhile, we also individually affirmed our communion with Metr. Angelos, and with him entered into our own communion with Metr. Raphael. The alternative would have been to again support union with the MP, and within our jurisdiction a great schism of five clergymen arose to denounce our interest in being consistent with the basics of this whole “True Orthodoxy thing”, as opposed to the “Great Soup” of Milan which– while great for soupy clergymen– was pretty nerve-wracking for our Bishops. In any case, most of that history can be found “as it happened” here on NFTU.

      3. “Ukrainian” lineage had nothing to do with our decision, but I do find it interesting. That said, our Synod was in communion with Patriarch Volodymyr (Romaniuk), when there was a great deal more unity in the Ukrainian Church, whereas Metr Raphael was made a bishop by Metropolitan Methody (Kudriakov). However, as I’ve already noted, they formed through a union of different Bishops, ceasing to operate as “groups” but as a single unified Russian Church after the union.

      Their recent attempt to downplay the “Ukrainian” aspect of their history was largely due to the work of the Lourie, who convinced them apparently that they’d be much more successful condemning their past and becoming Name-Worshippers. Then he sent us all a letter saying “I have nothing to do with it” (even though his picture was on portal-credo and their official website) talking about precisely the “issues they clarified”, presumably, because Raphael wanted the name of Patriarch that came with the cool hat, and this didn’t jive with Lurie’s goal of being the power behind every throne that’s taller than him.

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