, , , , ,

Unfortunately, western rationalism has had its influence on certain Eastern Orthodox leaders, who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church only in body. In spirit, they really belong to the West, which they consider to “reign” over the secular world. But if they were to view the West spiritually, to see it in the light of the East, in the light of Christ, then, they would be able to discern its spiritual twilight. For the light of the intelligible Sun, the light of Christ Himself is disappearing from the West and a deep darkness is slowly setting in. All these gatherings and conferences are the work of the evil one; the leaders are engaging in endless discussions on issues that need no discussion, issues that even the Holy Fathers never addressed in the past. All these are meant to confuse and scandalize the faithful and drive some of them to heresies and others to schisms, so that he can gain more ground. Ah! The misery and confusion they bring to people! (p. 227)

When holy Martyrs did not know how to explain the doctrines of the Church, they would often say, “What I to believe is what the Holy Fathers have taught.” That was enough to lead them to martyrdom. You see, they could not defend their faith with arguments and persuade those that persecuted them, but they trusted the Holy Fathers. He would reason to himself, “How can I not trust the Holy Fathers? They were far more experienced and virtuous and holy than we are. How can I accept this nonsense and not protest when people insult the Holy Fathers?” We must trust Holy Tradition. The problem today is that so many embrace European courtesy and try to appear nice. They want to be viewed as open-minded and tolerant and end up bowing to the two-horned devil. “We don’t need many religions,” they say, “one, universal religion will do.” This way they want to level everything. Some of my visitors actually think this way. “Those of us who believe in Christ should form one religion,” they once told me. “What you are suggesting,” I replied, “is that we take eighteen carat gold that has been purified and separated from copper and mix it with copper again. Does this make any sense? Ask a jeweler, ‘Does it make sense to mix base metals with gold?’ So many have struggled to keep our Orthodox dogma pure and make it shine.” The Holy Fathers were right to forbid relations with heretics. But today people don’t see that, “We should pray together with the heretic, the Buddhist, the fire-worshipper, even the demon-worshipper,” they say. “The Orthodox should participate in joint conferences and prayer sessions. It’s important that we are present.” What kind of presence are they talking about? They try to approach everything with logic and end up justifying the unjustifiable. If we follow the European spirit, we’ll end up putting spiritual matters under a Common Market.

A few among the Orthodox, who are rather superficial individuals, seeking self-promotion in a self-appointed ‘mission”, organize conferences with the heterodox to create a stir. They are supposedly promoting Orthodoxy, but all they do is bring in the heterodox and make a “mixed salad”. This gets the super-zealots angry and they go to the other extreme; they blaspheme against the Mysteries of the New Calendar Orthodox, and so on and thoroughly scandalize souls who are full of devotion and Orthodox sensitivity. The heterodox on the other hand, come to these conferences, behave as if we all have to learn from them, and then take whatever good spiritual material they find in Orthodoxy, process it in their lab, add their own colour and label and present it as an original idea. And there are all kinds of strange people who are moved by such ventures, and end up spiritually damaged. The time will come, however, when the Lord will bring forth great figures like Saint Mark the Evgenikos and Saint Gregory Palamas. They will gather together all our scandalized brothers and sisters, to confess the Orthodox faith and secure the Orthodox Tradition, bringing great joy to the Mother Church. (pp. 382-384)

Elder Paisios the Athonite, from With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man