Encyclical June 17/30 2005

To the Pious & God-loving Flock of the Holy Metropolis of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of North & South America.

June 17/30, 2005

The blessing of the Lord come upon you.

In view of the misinformation being disseminated by those who do not have the best interests of the Holy Orthodox Church at heart; disobedient clergy, scandal-mongers, adherents of Parasynagogues and others of like mind, His Beatitude, Archbishop Chrysostomos and the Holy Synod of our Church have instructed us to issue this formal clarification, that the minds and hearts of the reason-endowed sheep of Christ may not be troubled by the lies of the unscrupulous.

It is alleged by these unprincipled calumniators that we recently performed the Orthodox marriage rite over an Orthodox woman and a heterodox man. This is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. In accordance with the holy canons of the Church, and with the express permission and blessing of the Primate and Synod of our Church, prior to the marriage rite we received the prospective bridegroom, an Anti-Chalcedonian, into the bosom of the Holy Orthodox Church by means of anointing with Holy Chrism and the formal renunciation of the errors of the Monophysite heresy. This was done in accordance with Canon I of Saint Basil the Great, wherein the great Father gives this opinion: "I am inclined to suspect that we may by the severity of the prescription [i.e., if we demand that all who have had heterodox baptism must needs be received into the Church solely by means of our baptism] actually prevent men from being saved because of their reluctance in regard to baptism. But if they maintain [the form of] our baptism, let this not deter us. But let it be formally stated with every reason that those who join [the Orthodox Church] on top of their baptism must in all cases be chrismated by the faithful, and thus be admitted to the Mysteries."

By imposing the rite of Baptism indiscriminately on everyone wishing to enter the Orthodox Church do we imagine that we hold the Orthodox Traditions more firmly than this Great Ecumenical Teacher of the Church? We are the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and the Church has the right, guided by the Fathers and Traditions, to exercise economy where it sees fit. The Church's use of economy has been greatly abused and misunderstood in our days. The Ecumenists use the reception of a heretic by Chrismation (without "repeating" Baptism) as a recognition of that heretical Baptism as is. This could not be further from the truth. The Church possesses the authority to fill up that which is lacking in heretical "mysteries" in various ways. The reception of a Pre-Chalcedonian by Chrismation is not unprecedented; it is in accordance with the Holy Traditions of the Orthodox Church. The Holy Quinisext Council, which possesses Ecumenical authority, in its 95th Canon states, "As for heretics, who are joining Orthodoxy and the portion of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom?As for Manicheans and Valentinians and Marcionists and those from similar heresies, we accept them as Greeks (idolaters) and "rebaptize" them. But the Nestorians and the Eutychians and the Severans and those from similar heresies it is necessary for them to write libelli and to anathematize their heresy as well as Nestorios and Eutyches and Dioscoros and Severus and other exarchs of such heresies and those who entertain their beliefs, and all the aforementioned heresies; and thus they are allowed to partake of Holy Communion [1]. The passage in question refers to the rite of reception appropriate to the Gnostics and Manicheans, who, according to the canon of the Quinisext Council, should be received by baptism; adherents of the fourth, fifth, and sixth-century Christological heresies were to be received by drafting a libellus (i.e. a confession of faith and a rejection of errors). The Quinisext Council was convened more than two hundred-fifty years after the Council of Chalcedon in 451). St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite in his interpretation of this Canon states: "Nestorians, and Eutychians, Dioscorites, and Severians, have to anathematize in writing their own heresy and their heresiarchs and all those persons who believe in their heresies, among whom are numbered also the Monothelites, as well as the Novatians and the Macedonians, and after doing so they are allowed to partake of the Divine Mysteries." The present-day Copts are Dioscorites [2] therefore, this Canon pertains to their reception into the bosom of the Orthodox Church. It should be noted that this Canon, as well as St. Nikodemos's interpretation of it, require only a libellus renouncing his or her former heresy from a Copt and not even Chrismation, which we performed on the prospective bridegroom before the wedding.

The subject of the manner of the reception of heretics into the Orthodox Church is a particularly sensitive issue in our days owing to the abuses of the Church's economy in this regard among the so-called official Churches. In order to serve their Ecumenistic view of the Church, the adherents of the "official Churches" are deceived into thinking that the fact that the Orthodox Church in some cases does not "repeat" a heretical "mystery" constitutes a de facto recognition of that "mystery." This is not the case. Our Synod in Greece has watched with great concern the steady decay of the proper form of Orthodox Baptism (three complete immersions) among in the Ecumenist "Orthodox" jurisdictions and we have even "rebaptized" people coming to us from these jurisdictions where it is proved that three complete immersions did not take place.

Latins and Protestants are received into the Orthodox Church through the rite of Baptism, because the form of their heretical "baptism" does not resemble the Orthodox form in any way. During Coptic "baptism" the person is completely immersed three times in the water and the Orthodox Church, as the steward of Grace and dispenser of the Mysteries, has the power to vivify the invalid rituals of the non-orthodox, they receive validity only at the point of the person's reception into the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church validates the heretical "baptism" through Chrismation it does not recognize heretical "baptism" simply because it chooses to use an economy which the Fathers have laid down for us.

Let us therefore firmly state: We do not recognize that sacramental Grace exists outside the Church and we earnestly enjoin the faithful of our flock to pay no heed to such slanders as are being disseminated regarding this case, but to keep firmly in mind the prediction and advice which the holy and pre-eminent Apostle Paul gave to his disciple, Saint Timothy concerning the purveyors of such falsehoods: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For ...this sort [is]... ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their's also was. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables..." (II Tim. 3: 1-9, 13; 4: 4). Beloved, one of the stratagems used by the ancient enemy of our salvation is the false accusation, the well-couched lie. Over and over again, we have seen how successful these wiles have been in compromising the witness of our Church and wounding Its life. But let us follow the counsel of the holy Apostle, and stop our ears to such falsehoods, and refrain from spreading the lies proffered by the father of lies through those whom he has deceived to do his bidding. With my arch pastoral love and blessing.

Your fervent suppliant before the Lord,

+PAVLOS, Metropolitan of North & South America

Footnotes

[1]The pious Orthodox Christian should know that the text of the 95th canon of the Quinisext Council, as it stands in the 1982 Regopoulos edition of the Pedalion, is corrupted in syntax and form. See Pedalion (Thessaloniki: Regopoulos, 1982), 304. A clearer reading is given by Amilkas Alivizatos,(Athens: Apostoliki Diakonia, 1994), 142.

[2]The modern-day Copts refer to him as "St. Dioscorus the Great, Champion of Orthodoxy"

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