Нет смысла в возвращении

—In Response To—
“HOCNA's Point of No Return”

Ephraim, retired Metropolitan of Boston

First, we should point out that the hierarchy, clergy, and faithful of HOCNA are solely interested in following the consensus of the Holy Fathers and the teachings of the Church Councils in all things. Whenever modern authors ― whatever their personal history, jurisdictional affiliation, or circle of acquaintances ― agree with these teachings, we will accept their arguments and quote and refer to them; but when they disagree with the Fathers, we will reject them. This is not a question of accepting or creating new “authorities,” as our critic would have it, but of recognizing Truth wherever it is to be found. And simply by citing that which is true by a given author does not imply an acceptance of everything that he has written elsewhere, especially if he is in error about other matters. In so doing we are following the method of the Holy Fathers, as articulated by St. John of Damascus:
“First of all I shall set forth the best contributions of the philosophers of the Greeks, because whatever there is of good has been given to men from above by God, since ‘every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights’ (James 1:17). If, however, there is anything that is contrary to the truth, then it is a dark invention of Satan and a fiction of the mind of an evil spirit, as that eminent theologian Gregory [the Theologian] once said. In imitation of the bee, I shall make my composition from those things which are conformable with the truth and from our enemies themselves gather the fruit of salvation. But all that is worthless and falsely labeled as knowledge I shall reject.”
St. John’s method applies as well to Vladimir Ern’s reference to Plato, which our critic takes entirely out of context. Ern is simply arguing that the Name of God, as a Divine Energy, is more than just a “wonderworking icon,” as it was called by Archbishop Nikon (Rozhdestvensky) in his critique of Name-Glorifying, since an icon is something created by man. Natural human reason’s sincere quest for God, such as is found in the works of Plato can, according to Ern, also be called an “icon” (image) of sorts, since it reflects (in the words cited by our critic) a “divine power and a certain outpouring of gifts from above.” In other words, both man-made icons and natural philosophy can be seen as divinely-inspired but created images, since they are human activities reflecting the divine. But the Divine Name (the eternal Truth about God) is itself a divine activity, an uncreated revelation from on high that is reflected in created human words (verbal icons). That Ern should think so highly of Plato is wholly in keeping with the thought of the Fathers: St. Justin the Philosopher calls Plato “a Christian before Christ,” while St. John Chrysostom refers to the “sublimity of Plato,” and St. Photios the Great speaks of “the great Plato.” Such quotations could easily be multiplied. If Ern was guilty of “Platonism,” then so too were the Holy Fathers.
Second, our critic's remarks in “HOCNA's Point of No Return” will be considered “good” only by those who do not read or accept the witness of the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Fathers, and the Hesychastic Councils of the fourteenth century.
            Third, our critic speaks of “the heresy of uncreated names.” What Orthodox Church Council has condemned this “heresy”? Is he implying that the Prophet David (“Before the sun doth His Name continue”), St. Clement of Rome (“His Name… gave existence to all creation”), and St. John of Kronstadt (“The Name of God is God Himself”), along with a multitude of other Church Fathers, were in fact proponents of a heresy? (See “The Boundless Name”) Our critic does not tell us. If he is referring to the “Russian Synod of 1913,” this “Russian Synod” was not a Church Council at all, in the Orthodox ecclesiastical sense. The so-called “Russian Synod” was only a Lutheran-style, administrative agency of the Imperial Russian government, and its head ― who was called, in good, German Lutheran style, an “Oberprokurator” ― was a government minister who, on occasion, was a Freemason.
            Fourth, the findings of that particular 1913 non-Church “Synod” contradicted the Tome (i.e., the Decision) of a legitimate and genuine Holy Council ― the Hesychastic Council of 1351. Not only that, it even contradicted itself! (See Ern, p. 29):
            Fifth, Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) himself referred to the so-called “Russian Synod” ― borrowed from the Lutherans by Tsar Peter the First ― as “uncanonical,” and he protested that a previous “Russian Synod” had approved a resolution that permitted Orthodox Christians to receive “holy communion” from the Lutherans.
            Sixth, concerning the teaching about “salvation after death,” our critic should take the trouble to read the approximately twenty-five pages of Patristic citations on this subject at our website: http://www.homb.org/p/orthodox-resources.html.

            Seventh, our critic claims that we are at the “point of no return.” To which we can only respond: a return to what? To the “Latin Captivity” of the anti-hesychasts and the Lutheran “Russian Synod” of Tsar Peter the First? To that, there certainly is no point in returning!

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