Mercy!

by Archimandrite Dositheos
Abbot of the Holy Stavropegic
Monastery Panagia Tatarna

Reading the various reports or listening to the queries of pilgrims to the Holy Monastery from the declarations of the “ultra-Orthodox” “zealots” and “barren little Greeks” against the Ecumenical Patriarchate or more personally His All Holiness Our Ecumenical Patriarch, I now set out my view.
These things fill us with bile, according to “their grape is a grape of gall, their cluster is one of bitterness, their wine is the rage of serpents, and the incurable rage of asps”[1]. They find nothing good in the actions of the Patriarchate. Darkness, blackest night, the gloom of Erebus. This for the most part is based on a poor precursor of petty Greekness (Helladism) and Church provincialism.
But Orthodoxy is not a “leaning wall,” nor a “tottering rampart” [2], nor built on moving sand, but on rock, and that rock is Christ [3]. “A strong tower against the face of the enemy “[4], impenetrable to surrounding wolves,”overshadowed by a cloud”[5], denoting the Holy Spirit. Holy Orthodoxy is not “a decrepit cloak full of holes and open to every wind” [6], wherefore she is “not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against her round about. “[7]. She is the fine woman “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars”. [8] “I am a flower of the plain, a lily of the valleys. As a lily among thorns. ” [9].

There is no fear within her because “perfect love casts out fear” [10]. From the strong conviction that she bears the truth, she converses, speaks, sets out opinion, standing firmly in the truth faith, walking carefully on a tightrope, given that to be orthodox, i.e. of correct belief, is to walk a tight-rope. She proclaims urbi et orbi “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” [11] This truth is Christ, who is “full of grace and truth” [12] knowing at the same time Orthodoxy is ecclesial and not individual, Christ is He who extends through the ages.
Our Holy Faith is not a night-bat afraid of the light, nor do those who belong to this generation flee the sun. Our faith fills wholly with light: “The light of Christ shines upon all”. It is not an “owl in the desert or ruined house” nor “a sparrow alone on the rooftop” [13], but lightly soars higher than “the eagles of the heaven” [14] with broad wings.
I have visited the Royal City (i.e. Constantinople) as a humble and poor pilgrim one hundred and forty one times, and I did not discern a single trace of falsehood or bad belief in those who are obliged to remain there. Recognizing, however, the oft repeated complaint: “Why, from Greece such cutting attacks, so much loathing, so much slander, so much “hatred instead of love”[15], particularly on the part of people who many times have been helped by the Great Church of Christ”?
The answer: Fortunately the caw-caw of crows, cannot cover over the trill of nightingales. The People of God, Romiosini fully trusts the able helmsmanship of the Ecumenical Patriarch piloting the sacred ship, through crashing rocks, the smiting of the sea, and precipices and cliffs.

1o-nekrotafeio-042.jpg
Some of these racist nationalists, who live in safety and complete freedom, dwelling in this hapless land , would have the Great Church sleeping, resting on its laurels , motionless, inactive, set in the stone of myths and legends, like the “sleeping beauty” by Yiannoulis Chalepas in the 1st Cemetary of Athens, that they would have it both existing and not existing.
Others would prefer that the Great Church should be torn apart by “ravening and roaring lions” [16], so that “we can be free of them”.Ignatius_of_Antioch.jpg
They deliberately confuse Ecumenical and ecumenism belching forth the venom of asps against the Great Church, desiring either its complete incineration or its head on a plate, while the poor wretches are ignorant of what Ecclesial Orthodoxy is, that it is saved without the need of any one of us. They don’t know what a Patriarch is; what the Great Church is; what unity of Faith, with one mouth and heart, is; what the Phanar is, stopping up their ears, voluntarily tearing at their clothes and throwing stones from afar at a safe distance.
All that has been said and written about the Pan-Orthodox Council, exceeds the amount of sewage flowing through the drains of many large cities. Upon hearing of this gathering, they started cursing and shouting anathema and crying, 29 Αποτομή Κεφαλής Προδρόμου.jpg“away with him, away with him” tearing up the garments and throwing dust in the air, whipping up a storm and and saying we shall neither drink nor eat [17], until the Council is brought to naught.
Lately we have discerned synodal explanations that there are two rivals, of equal worth and honour, autocephalous, independent of other Churches: that of Constantinople and that of Greece. Even this was to be heard! And I ask myself- which Tomos granted autocephaly to the Mother Church, to Constantinople? And if this Church is just autocephalous and not the Patriarchate and Mother Church, how can it grant autocephaly? An autocephalous church cannot create another autocephalous church. Did they never read the 34th Canon of the Holy Apostles, or the 3rd Canon of the Second Ecumenical Council, or the 29th Canon of the Fourth Ecumenical and so many others? And do they have the same validity of the Tomos of 1850 or the Act of 1928, that were forced to be written and then granted and can be rescinded at any time? This is what Alexander Papadiamandis says in his well-known narrative tale “The Monk”: “And isn’t it time perhaps for the Great Church of Christ to think if it is in its best interests to remove from Greece, its immature sister, the autocephaly, which was only given through condescension and under certain terms and conditions?”
In this and for all of this we need to cry out not just “Mercy!”, but “Lord have mercy!” Five hundred times like at the Exaltation of the Holy Cross …
The same angel who led Constantine the Great to set up New Rome, protects His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch and all those with him unharmed in the sevenfold fiery furnace of wickedness. ThreeHolyYouths.jpg
We know that “the righteous are as bold as a lion” [18], wherefore all those in the Royal City “will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea “[19]. Let us not forget that on the part of those declaiming Orthodox through irrepressible chatter and prattling on that they are trying clumsily to biliously cover up “faltering between two opinions?” [20].
We who are the least and inconsequential, without bragging we want to “lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk” of the Mother Church, that we “may grow thereby up to salvation” [21].
Amen.

[1] . Deuteronomy 32, 32-33.
[2] . Psalms 61:1.
[3] . I Corinthians 10: 4.
[4] . Psalm 60:3
[5] . Wisdom of Solomon 18: 7.
[6] . Lucian, Dialogues of the Dead, Diogenus and Pollux.
[7] . Psalm 3: 7.
[8] . Revelation 12: 1.
[9]. Song of Songs 2:1-2
[10]. I John 4:18.
[11]. John 8: 32.
[12]. ibid 15: 17.
[13]. Psalms 101:6.
[14]. Lamentations of Jeremiah 4: 19.
[15]. Psalms 108:5.
[16]. Psalms 21:13.
[17]. Acts 22:23 and 23:12.
[18]. Proverbs 28: 1.
[19]. Psalms 45:2
[20]. III Kings 18:21.
[21]. I Peter 2: 1-2.

Source: Scribd Doc

The original was written in ecclesiastical Greek or ancient idiom. The mistakes are the translator’s.

 

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