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MAY 2007, Vol. XLI, No. 5, (1572)



When the minds begins to make progress in the love of God, then the demon of blasphemy starts to tempt it. He suggests such thoughts to it as no man, but only their father, the Devil, could devise. He does this out of envy for the God-loving man, in order that, coming into despair at having conceived such thoughts, he might no longer dare to soar up to God in his customary prayer.

St. Maximos in The Evergetinos 3(ii).

of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America

How can unity be achieved among the Orthodox Christians? Our response to this question is quite simple: we must all earnestly seek "the one thing that is needful" - our eternal salvation. And this is accomplished through our faithfulness to Holy Tradition.
    Our Saviour taught us: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things Whatsoever I have commanded you. (Matt. 28:274)
    And the Holy Apostle Paul writes: Brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or any epistle. (II Thess. 2:15)
    Basing ourselves, theref0ore, on the Holy Apostolic Traditions, the unity and concord that we must have are twofold: doctrinal and liturgical (which comprises both way of worship and way of life).
    1) Doctrinal unity may be achieved if all the Orthodox begin again to abide by the decisions and canons of the Ecumenical and Local Councils. Here, it would be useful if everyone humbly abandoned their own personal opinions, specifically in regard to how the church should deal with those that are non-Orthodox ? especially in the Ecumenical Movement and the World Council of Churches. If all of us simply re-affirmed the teaching and practice of the Orthodox Church in this matter, as it is codified and proclaimed in Holy Tradition, most problems of Orthodox church unity would resolve themselves.
    To better illustrate this point, we will repeat here what we have written in other publications of our diocese: Since our diocese adheres to the traditional, ecclesiastical calendar and we have also been very vocal in our objections to Ecumenism, our clergy are quite often visited by students, professors, clergymen, and once in a while, even bishops affiliated with the various new calendar jurisdictions in this country. These visits are often made with the purpose of trying to persuade us that the  ecumenical path which their jurisdictions follow in no way compromises the Orthodox Faith. Virtually without exception, these good people open their defense with the words, "I believe," "I think," "I feel," or "In my opinion." But right at this point, we feel compelled to say, "Wait, wait! What you or I believe, or think, or feel, has no bearing on this matter. The only thing that is of any importance and has any authority in these matters is what the Church has always believed, thought, and felt. If we start going on the basis of what each one of us thinks, believes, or feels, then we'll become like the Protestants, and in fact, soon we won't have just four or five hundred denominations as they do we'll have millions. Each individual will become a church in himself, each one feeling, believing, and thinking as he sees fit. In this, as in every matter, it is the Church and its sacred tradition that must teach us, and we must listen humbly and be instructed."
    2) Liturgical unity may be easily achieved if all the Orthodox simply adopted the Julian calendar again. Since most of the Orthodox already use this calendar, this particular obstacle to church unity is not so insurmountable as it may first appear.
    In our diocese we have clergy and laypeople from every possible background one could  imagine. Not only have we come together from different, ethnic Orthodox jurisdictions, new calendar and old calendar, Greek, Russian, Romanian, Syrian, Ukrainian and American melting pot, but also from non-Orthodox denominations and even pagan religions. Many of our clergy who are from Orthodox jurisdictions have been trained in different theological schools: Holy Cross, St. Vladimir's, St. Tikhon's, Holy Trinity in Jordanville, and elsewhere. Yet, we are all of one mind, and one heart, and one soul in matters of the Faith. Why? Because we have all adopted one criterion: Holy Tradition, as it s embodied in the Holy Scriptures, the Lives of the Saints, the decisions of the holy Ecumenical and Local Councils, and the writings of the Church Fathers.
    This is the standard by which we conduct our church life, correct ourselves in our personal lives, and guide ourselves in every aspect of our earthly sojourn, striving for that one thing that is needful: our eternal salvation.
    As Orthodox Christians, what other criterion can we have? But, some may object: even those who follow the traditional ecclesiastical calendar are divided. This is true, although it is not a problem unique to those who adhere to the traditional ecclesiastical calendar, as is evident from the many overlapping new calendar jurisdictions that exist in this hemisphere and in Europe.
    In response to this objection we must admit that some of the divisions that exist among the True Orthodox Christians are due to human weakness, personal ambitions, pride, etc. However, it is equally true that many of the divisions that exist among us are due to the new calendarists. How so?
    When the calendar change was first implemented in the early 20's, the bishops of the new calendar Church in Greece (and later in Romania) unleashed a terrible persecution against those clergy and faithful who refused to follow them in this innovation. The innovating bishops ordered the police to break up any church services held according to the traditional ecclesiastical reckoning. Hence, the police, swinging their clubs, would enter the churches during the services. Heads were smashed, people were killed, priests were pulled out of the sanctuary by gendarmes, who walked right through the Royal Doors; holy Communion was spilled, chalices broken in half. Priests were stripped of their rassa, shaved, dressed in dirty and ragged secular clothing and pushed out into the street. Nuns had their habits ripped off and then they too were pushed out into the street. Churches, monasteries and convents built by the True Orthodox Christians were confiscated or bulldozed.
    At the same time this was happening, these Orthodox Christians were told that their children were unbaptized, that the marriages performed by "old calendarist" priests were invalid, that their children were illegitimate and had no inheritance rights. Yet, the True Orthodox Christians saw that the new calendar bishops in Europe and America accepted the validity of the baptisms, weddings and ordinations performed by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and others, even though these people had been separated from the Church for almost one thousand years, and had espoused innumerable errors and heresies.
    Now, how should a traditional Orthodox Christian assess this situation? How should he have responded to this vicious persecution, to the fact that his Mysteries were considered invalid (although he had not changed any doctrine of the Church), and to the fact that, simultaneously, the new calendar hierarchy recognized the validity of the sacraments of those who without remorse or repentance openly taught heresy? What happened then was that the True Orthodox Christians became divided. Some said that the innovating hierarchy had initiated a true schism, and therefore that the canons regarding schism should be applied, and they believed that  there was no way that the new calendar Church could in any way be the Church of Christ, since it was doing all these terrible and blasphemous things against the faithful; others said that we should await a synodal decision before making a final judgment (although, actually, the calendar change had been condemned already by the Pan-Orthodox Councils of 1582, 1583 and 1593, as well as those of 1663, 1687, 1824, 1848 and others); yet others said that the people who followed the new calendar did not really know what was going on, and that it was solely the responsibility of the new calendar bishops. And so on. And thus, this became a major cause for the True Orthodox Christians also to become divided.
    Despite all these grievous circumstances that have occurred and, in certain aspects, are still occurring, the clergy of our Church and I myself are nonetheless willing to discuss these matters with any Orthodox Christian clergyman or layperson, so that the unity that all long for may be achieved.
    However, this has to come to pass on the basis of sound Orthodox doctrine and ecclesiology, and not on the basis of our private opinions. Any basis other than Holy Tradition is bound to fail, since it will be an endeavor that is merely human, and not according to God. In our own diocese, we already enjoy this unity of many different ethnic usages and customs which, in fact, have enriched the lives of all of us, and many have incorporated the whole spectrum of the varied ethnic traditions into their parish and family life. But the one common denominator to which we all cleave with love is the Holy Tradition of the Church. We are convinced that this is the answer held out to us by our Saviour and all the Saints from ages past, and that it is, as we know from the experience of our own diocese, entirely possible and attainable. We know that it can, and in fact, does work.

In Christ,
Ephraim, Metropolitan of Boston
Synaxis of the Holy Archangels.
8/21 November, 1990

by Joseph Bragg

In all the controversy between the “Old Calendarists” and “World Orthodoxy” today it is very easy to get lost in all the arguments, canons, quotes, proofs and counter-proofs coming from both sides.  We can easily get caught up in the controversy and loose sight of what the real issue is that lies behind it all.
         In the final analysis the controversy is not about who has the most canons or the most quotes from the Fathers or how this Father or that Bishop or this Saint responded to this or that controversy at some particular time.  
         If we peel back the layers of controversial years and endless arguments, at the very heart of the matter we will see a battle for a true concept and understanding of God and our Salvation.  Hasn’t this been the essence of all heresy debates and controversies in the Church?  It is always a battle for the truth about God and our Salvation.
         All the changes that have come about in World Orthodoxy have come gradually, in small increments, over many years.  This makes it hard to see where you once were and where you now are.  It keeps people from seeing the giant leap and profound changes that all of these incremental changes can have on our very concept of who God is and what it means to be a Christian.
         We have seen similar developments in the world.  Think, for example, how society thirty years ago viewed people living together before marriage, having children out of wedlock or being homosexual.  These things were taboo and people who did these things were actually embarrassed and tried to keep them hidden.  But now, today, there is no shame and in fact, these things may even have a certain badge of honor associated with them.  The consequence is that society today has a very different understanding and perception of marriage, child bearing and sexuality than it did thirty years ago.  The sacredness, holiness, beauty and God-ordained meaning and purpose of life, sexuality and procreation have been all but lost.  These have become foreign concepts in the mind of modern society when it thinks of these subjects.  Try to talk about this with many today and they will look as you as though you are speaking a foreign language.
         But how did this happen?  One small increment at a time over many years.  While it was happening everyone just thought that a few changes were taking place here and there that didn’t amount to much.  What they did not understand was that the very concepts of marriage, life, procreation, and sexuality were being redefined and the very concepts of Divine purpose and meaning and the Sacred were all being lost.
         My dad was born in 1891.  He lived from the horse and buggy days to the landing on the moon.  He died in 1978.  He used to tell that when he was a young man all the women wore below the ankle length dresses and if a woman’s ankle somehow got exposed she was embarrassed and ashamed.  Now, he was seeing women in shorts, pants and bathing suits.  How did this happen?  One small increment at a time over many years.  First the dress was shortened to calf length.  Then when society became used to that, it was shortened to the knee.  Then it was no longer a full dress but a tight skirt.  Then when society adapted to that, well you know the rest of the story.  Complete nudity is fully acceptable today and the knowledge of God and the Sacred in regard to life and living is lost.
        Here is another illustration of how external changes result in the loss of internal knowledge and basic concepts and beliefs.
        I work with a group of people who are very religious. Most of them are from the mega church/non-denominational preference with a couple of Roman Catholics, some Church of Christ and a Baptist or two.  The other day one of them mentioned the Rockettes were in town for the annual Christmas show.  I mentioned that the Rockettes, dancing and strutting on stage in mini skirts, seemed to me to be totally incongruous with the celebration of the holy and sacred birth of the Holy Son of God who came to make us holy.  There were two immediate reactions.  One was a look of  “what in the world are you talking about?” and the other was an immediate defense of the show contending they saw nothing incongruous about it at all since it was all just a joyous celebration of Christmas.  Dancing girls in mini-skirts seemed a perfectly fine way to celebrate the birth of Christ for some.
        How can this be?  Many changes over many years in the protestant world have resulted in very different understandings and perceptions of God and Salvation.  As I listened to the responses it suddenly dawned on me that there was no way we would be able to discuss this issue in any meaningful way because we were coming from two very different concepts of God and Salvation.  They had little or no concept of the holiness of God and no concept of the meaning of Salvation as theosis (a transformation which dies to the sinful passions and strives to attain the likeness of Christ through union with Christ).
        Much of Protestantism, through many years of changes, fads and remaking has now a God who is secularized, modernized, materialized and consumerized.  The sad thing is that my co-workers do not know that the concept and perception they have of God and Salvation bears only a faint resemblance to the God and Salvation of the historic Christian faith.
        What is the point?  Back to the Old Calendarists vs World Orthodoxy.  It is my contention that what has happened in Protestantism over many years of changes and has resulted in a loss of the knowledge of God and Salvation is also happening in World Orthodoxy. 
        It is not just about a change of calendar, the loss of priestly beards and rassos, Hafli’s on Saturday nights with Holy Communion a few hours later, worldly and secular bishops who were never monastics and the loss of Confession and Fasting, Nor is it merely about joint prayers with non-Orthodox, Masonic memberships or membership in the WCC and NCC.  In the final analysis it is about retaining or losing the knowledge of God and our Salvation.
        Little by little over the years, World Orthodoxy has been gradually losing a conscious sensitivity to and awareness of the holiness of God, the Sacred and Salvation as theosis, much the same as has happened in Roman Catholicism, Episcopalianism and Protestantism.  The average, typical World Orthodox parish is secularized, socialized and consumerized.  To be sure, some of the externals of Orthodoxy remain, but the heart and soul of the Orthodox faith is lost, hardly known and barely desired.  The awareness and knowledge of the holiness of God and the Sacred and the pursuit of Salvation as theosis exists only in small pockets here and there where a priest or some of the laity have maintained contact with the Old Calendarists through their publications or their monasteries.   Where this does not exist in World Orthodoxy, the true knowledge of God and of Salvation is being replaced by a new, convenient and user-friendly God and Salvation.  While the externals may appear to be Orthodox, the basic knowledge and concepts are not the same.  Each passing year and each successive change enlarges the gap between the faith of the Old Calendarists and World Orthodoxy.   Eventually, a generation will grow up in World Orthodoxy thinking they hold the Orthodox Faith when in fact the heart and soul was lost long ago.  Or has it already happened?
        It is my contention that only in the Old Calendarist churches (not just those who follow the Julian calendar but those who hold the True Faith) is it possible for the true knowledge of God and of Salvation to be preserved.  Only there will future generations be able to experience the true knowledge of God and Salvation as theosis in a living and real way beyond mere words.  This is what is really at stake. 
        It seems to me that once we are able to see this as the real issue, there remains little to argue about.

Letter to the  International Herald Tribune from the
Hellenic Electronic Center  with 35,000 Hellenes
and 25 Hellenic Organizations as Associated members
in the US and abroad
April 21, 2007
The April 13 editorial on the canceled Genocide exhibit at the United Nations rightfully criticizes the  United Nations for succumbing to Turkish pressure. We would like to point out however, that in  addition to the Armenians, there was likewise a conspiracy of Genocide directed toward the Greek  and Assyrian populations by the authorities of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. As early as 1914,  Greeks living on the coasts of Asia Minor were summarily deported into the interior, and eventually  Greeks along with Assyrians fell victim to forced death marches, massacres, and starvation.
     The horrific atrocities of the Ottoman Empire were acknowledged as can be seen by the initial efforts  to free the Christian populations from Turkish rule. Plans were conceived for the establishment of an  independent Armenian Republic, while Greece was officially invited by the Great Powers to take   possession of Smyrna and Eastern Thrace. In addition,   Constantinople was occupied by the Great  Powers, thus putting an end to Turkish rule. The later tragedies which led to the burning of the free Greek City of Smyrna and the massacre of its Greek and Armenian populations by Turkish  nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal, and the subsequent slaughter of Greeks and Armenians throughout  Anatolia bear witness to the illegal status of the Turkish Kemalists, and the program for Genocide  intended to eliminate once and for all the native Christian populations whose democratic demands  emanating from the simple desire to merely exist conflicted with Turkish demands to maintain territory inhabited by non-Muslim populations.
 The subsequent abomination referred to as "Exchange of populations" by the representatives of the  Great Powers led to the forcible uprooting and destruction of 1,000,000 Greeks from lands that their ancestors had resided in for 3,000 years. Indeed, Genocide is the proper label for the policies that  were adopted toward Greeks and Assyrians, as well as Armenians. The cowardly capitulation to the Turkish Kemalists by the Great Powers stands as an example of appeasement and cruelty by the West that condemned entire peoples to unspeakable terror and suffering. The legacy of this appalling example of indifference to the suffering of innocents remain with America and Europe to the  present day. Turkish ultranationalists maintain a firm hold on Turkey, and neighboring states unable  to defend themselves such as Syria and Cyprus have fallen prey to the expansionist legacy that  Mustafa Kemal left behind in Turkey, and that now appears to threaten the democratic ambitions of  the Kurds in Nothern Iraq who are being targeted by the Turkish paramilitary State.
                           Theodore G. Karakostas
                          Member of HEC Executive Council

International Herald Tribune, France
April 13 2007

More than 90 years ago, when Turkey was still part of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish nationalists launched an extermination campaign there that killed 1.5 million Armenians.

It was the 20th century's first genocide. The world noticed, but did nothing, setting an example that surely emboldened such later practitioners as Hitler, the Hutu leaders of Rwanda in 1994 and today's Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Turkey has long tried to deny the Armenian genocide. Even in the modern-day Turkish republic, which was not a party to the killings, using the word genocide in reference to these events is prosecuted as a serious crime . Which makes it all the more disgraceful that United Nations officials are bowing to Turkey's demands and blocking this week's scheduled opening of an exhibit at UN headquarters commemorating the 13th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide - because it mentions the mass murder of the Armenians.

Ankara was offended by a sentence that explained how genocide came to be recognized as a crime under international law: "Following World War I, during which one million Armenians were murdered in Turkey, Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin urged the League of Nations to recognize crimes of barbarity as international crimes." The exhibit's organizer, a British-based anti-genocide group, was willing to omit the words "in Turkey." But that was not enough for the UN's craven new leadership, and the exhibit has been indefinitely postponed.

It's odd that Turkey's leaders have not figured out by now that every time they try to censor discussion of the Armenian genocide, they only bring wider attention to the subject and link today's democratic Turkey with the now distant crime. As for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his inexperienced new leadership team, they have once again shown how much they have to learn if they are to honorably and effectively serve the United Nations, which is supposed to be the embodiment of international law and a leading voice against genocide.


The issue for April, 2007 was published but not mailed except to Libraries and a few clergy. We are attempting to catch up within a month and resume normal mailings. We would be happy to send copies upon request. A donation of $1 for postage and envelopes is appreciated.

His Eminence, Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston
His Eminence, Metropolitan Ephraim of Boston

My Beloved Orthodox Christian, Christ is risen!

        A short time ago, I was reading a paschal homily written by St. Symeon the New Theologian in the 11th Century. St. Symeon was the abbot of the Monastery of St. Mamas in Constantinople. He reposed in the year 1022. He wrote many spiritual treatises, and is probably best known among the faithful for his exceptional and most compunctionate communion prayer, “From lips tainted and defiled, from a heart unclean and loathsome

        As I mentioned above, he wrote also a very profound paschal homily for the benefit of his monks at the Monastery of St. Mamas. With your permission, I would like to quote a significant portion of his homily. So, in a true sense, this year’s Paschal Encyclical is actually delivered to you by this great Saint of the Church!
        This is what the Saint says in part:
        Most men believe in the resurrection of Christ, but very few have a clear spiritual vision of it. Those who have no vision of it, cannot adore Christ Jesus as the Holy One and Lord. As it is written, “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” [I Cor. 12:3], and, elsewhere, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” [Jn. 4:24].
    The sacred hymn which is now daily on our lips does not say, “Having believed in the Resurrection of Christ,” but “Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus, Who is alone without sin.” How is it that the Holy Spirit moves us to chant, “Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ,” when we have not seen it, when Christ rose once a thousand years ago, and even then without anybody’s seeing it? Surely the Church’s hymn does not want us to lie? Far from it! Rather, it urges us to speak the truth, that the resurrection of Christ takes place in each of us who believes, and not once, but at every hour, when Christ arises in us, shining with the radiance of divinity and incorruption. For the light-bearing Spirit shows forth to us the Master’s resurrection; He grants us to see the Risen One Himself. Therefore, we chant, “God is the Lord, and hath appeared unto us,” and we allude to His second Coming and add these words,
    “Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.” So, in those to whom the risen Christ has been revealed, He is endlessly beheld spiritually, and they see Him with spiritual eyes.
        When this happens to us through the grace of the Holy Spirit, He raises us up from the dead and gives us life. He grants us to see Him, Who is immortal and indestructible. More than that, He grants us clearly to know Him Who raises us up and glorifies us with Himself, as the divine Scripture testifies. These, then, are the divine mysteries of the Christians. This is the hidden power of our Faith, which unbelievers, or those who believe with difficulty, or rather believe in part, do not see or are not able to see.
        Unbelievers, those who believe with difficulty, or believe in part, are those who do not show their faith through works. Apart from works the demons also believe and confess Christ to be God and Master. “We know who you art,” they say, “thou art the Son of God,” and elsewhere, “These men are the servants of the Most High God.” Yet such faith will benefit neither the demons nor people. This faith is of no use, for it is dead, as the divine Apostle says, “Faith without works is dead,” just like works without faith. Why is it dead? Because it does not have within itself the life-giving God. It has not acquired Him Who said, “He who loves Me will keep My commandments, and
I and the Father will come and make Our abode in him” [Jn. 14:21, 23], so that, by Our presence, we may resurrect him who has attained faith, and, that We may give him life, and grant him to see Christ, Who has risen in him and Who has raised him up. This is why faith without works is dead, or, rather, they are dead who have faith but no works. Faith in God is always alive, and since it is a living thing, it gives life to those who come with intent and receive it. And this life is shown forth in works of love. Amen.
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

Your fervent suppliant unto God,
+Ephraim, metropolitan
Pascha, 2007
Protocol No. 2516



(AVV) AVVAKUM THE BAREFOOT by Fr. Theodoretos the Hagiorite.  The account of the life of one who lived sublime combination of great asceticism and “community” work., in other words, of practical love towards his fellow man, whether a monk or a lay pilgrim. Paper  94pp . e$10.00
(CFR) CONCERNING FREQUENT COMMUNION OF THE IMMACULATE MYSTERIES OF CHRIST by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite, translated by Fr. George Dokos.  Includes and Explanation of the Lord’s Prayer, an apology for frequent communion, answers to objections and clarifications of misconceptions, and two appendices on the Divine Eucharist. Contains scriptural and subject/names indices.  241pp.  Paper  d$17.00
(OCH) ORTHODOX CHURCH HISTORY (Teacher’s Manual).  An excellent manual for Sunday School teachers and home-schooling parents on the broad history of the Church from Old Testament times (mentioned briefly) through the modern era. The outlines in each chapter are brief, with notes and questions for the teacher. Black & white illustrations and icons.  208pp.  Paper  e$15.00
(OOC) ORDER OF CREATION, ORDER OF REDEMPTION: The Ordination of Women in the by Fr. Michael Azkoul. A review of the theological and ecclesial facts defining the place of women in the Orthodux Church, based on the Scriptures, the Fathers and the Canons. A concise and traditional exposition of the subject.  102pp.  Paper  d$10.00

St. Nectarios Press