Athens. June 28, 2002
To the Clergy and the Parish Priests of our Church
Most Righteous and Reverend Liturgists of the Most High,
Grace and Mercy to you from the Lord.
The saving diaconate which the Lord has delegated to us does not relate to bodies, but to the precious souls for which the Lord sacrificed Himself and exhorted us saying, "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:37)"
Nothing else but the Divine Blood is able to wash and cleanse our immortal and eternal soul from the filth of sin. Understanding, therefore, the value of the God-beloved soul as the most treasured thing in the world is enough to cause in us serious thought and attention to securing the salvation of our soul, the primary care of our life.
Toward this end God gave special assistance through the Holy Apostles and their successors, the Hierarchs and priests of His Church and left a command telling the spiritual innkeeper of His Church: "Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. (Luke 10:35)"
We believe it is obvious how great our responsibility is before God if we do not care for the sinful soul under our stole. We will be held accountable for its loss; whether from our inexperience, or from our negligence, or from our superficial care of its wounds from sin.
At the judgment seat of God we will bring upon ourselves the judgment of this soul hanging from our stole, in addition to our own sins we will bring upon ourselves the grave transgressions of those who confess to us, which sins we have frivolously and fearlessly forgiven.
We, therefore, exhort you as good physicians of souls to apply the Holy Canons to those who confess to you, with fear of God and according to the prescribed manner of the Fathers, not granting free passes to those with grave sins, so that you do not take their judgment upon yourselves, bringing them with you to give account to God for someone else's sins.
Do not grant forgiveness in an off-handed fashion without applying the appropriate canons to sinners, thereby, easily and unworthily giving them the Immaculate Mysteries, and provoking the wrath of God.
Unfortunately, an absence of a discerning spirit has been noticed among imprudent ones seeking confession who go to a flexible confessor, with the result that both the spiritual father and he who confesses risk eternal damnation.
Beware, and do not become communicants with strange sins; no one granted you the right to irrationally forgive grave sins. This is not a teaching of the Church, but of the devil.
Therefore, we want to bring this to the attention of all our priests, that they not give Holy Communion to Νew Calendarists. The dispensing of the Immaculate Mysteries to those who do not have an Orthodox mind-set is strictly forbidden. It is not permissible for a New Calendarist to commune at the Lord's Table because they belong to the Ecumenist "Church", which participates in interreligious joint prayer with heretics, Papists, Protestants, and even non-Christians, who provocatively and officially give the "holy" things to the Papists and Atheists.
Flexible priests gravely sin by communicating them and bring upon themselves the judgment as ones who mock God and scandalize the faithful strugglers of the Faith, of which the Lord said: "woe to that man by whom the offence cometh. (Matt. 18:7)"
As for the entrance of New Calendarists into the bosom of our Church; a necessary presupposition is a declaration of Faith, and Chrismation with Holy Myrrh, according to the 1st Canon of St. Basil for the reception of schismatics, and so much more for heretical ecumenists.
They who do not conform to the above commandments of the Fathers, but act as they see fit, are not part of the body of those who are fighting for the Orthodoxy of our Church, because they do not have the common ideology, but they have individualized it and consequently are foreign to the spirit and letter of our Sacred Struggle by rejecting the confession of Faith and its presuppositions, as promulgated by our first Hierarchs in 1935 and subsequent years and which the Holy Synod reaffirmed by its Encyclical of 1974.
On Account of these things:
We call your attention to obedience to, and compliance with your spiritual responsibilities; to the traditional position of our Martyric Church from its beginning, in order to avoid non-uniformity, divisiveness, scandal and internal and external accusations, and worse, the fall of the weak because of accusations against the clergy.
We declare once again, that these guiding principles which have been in place since the inception of our struggle remain in force continuously and must be applied, in their entirety, for the uniformity of our priestly responsibilities according to the Fathers of the Church and the Encyclical of 1974, which states, "Thus we believe, thus we declare."
There can be no condescension in matters of Faith, accordingly, even the baptism of the New Calendarists is considered invalid, because, beyond the ecumenist mantle with which their Church has enveloped itself, not even the practice of triple immersion is preserved, for the most part having been replaced by pouring of the baptismal font's water on the person being baptized.
It is imperative, therefore, that we strictly preserve the Sacred Trust of the Church, and, in our struggle fare well on the good road, as genuine guardians of Orthodoxy and servants of the Gospel, so that we be deemed worthy of honor by God along with the confessors of our Faith.
With Fervent Blessings,
† Chrysostom of Athens
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Tucson, AZ, is a beautiful mission parish near downtown Tucson, a city in southern Arizona. It was started in 1997 by Father John Bockman, who was a missionary priest formerly serving missions in Tennessee and Massachusetts since 1990. Read more...