January 26, 2010

Elder Philotheos on the Schismatic Old Calendarists

From Letter 8 - September 23, 1975

...Let's also see about the Old Calendarists from the self-titled "Genuine Orthodox Christians."

The genuine Orthodox Christian is the Christian who has steadfast Faith and fervor towards God; love from all his heart and soul towards God and neighbor; humility and meekness, truth and sincerity. When our Lord Jesus Christ sent the disciples into the world He told them to preach the Gospel. He didn't tell them to preach the Old Calendar.

He told them, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved," that is, the one believing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and not the one baptized in the Old Calendar. The beloved virgin and eagle of theology, St. John the Evangelist said:

"God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him” (Jn. 4:8).

He did not say the Old Calendar is God and the one abiding in the Old Calendar abides in God.

Our Lord Jesus Christ--perfect God and perfect man--said, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls"(Mt. 11:29). He didn't say learn from Me for I am an Old Calendarist--as some Old Calendarists say that Christ was an Old Calendarist out of their excessive zeal.

O Lord, deliver us from such a foolish mindset.

He said, "Learn from Me For I am meek and humble in heart and you have to become this way in order to find rest in your souls." He didn't say become Old Calendarists.

And so, the Old Calendarists falsely boast and claim that they are ‘genuine Orthodox’.

They are genuine CACODOX because they don't have Faith in God, they have faith in the Old Calendar.

St. Paul the Apostle - the mouth of Christ — says: "Without faith it is impossible to be saved."

The Old Calendarists say, "Without the Old Calendar, it is impossible to be saved.”

The Lord orders us to love not only our loved ones but also our enemies.

The Old Calendarists and the adherents of the Old Calendarists hate and curse each other...

They should neither be called genuine Orthodox, nor Christian nor logical people because even unbelievers, the impious and the last rank of people...are shy and timid inside the Church and don't dare to quarrel. In the Church of the Annunciation in Halkidi, the bold presumptuous Bishops, Presbyters, etc, of the self-titled ‘Genuine Orthodox' raised their hands and hit their brothers. They ought to repent and be self-deposed because if they don't cease their priestly functions, the 27th Apostolic Canon deposes them [Note: The canon states: "If a Bishop, Presbyter, or Deacon shall strike any of the faithful who have done wrong, with the intention of frightening them, we command that he be deposed. For our Lord has by no means taught us to do so, but, on the contrary, when He was smitten He smote not. When He was reviled He reviled not, when He suffered He threatened not"].

The Orthodox Church accepts that all the Saints were sanctified and saved through faith, love, humility, the observance of God's commandments and good works. However, the more fanatic of the O1d Calendarist zealots and super zealots unfortunately accept (the belief) that without the Old Calendar, there is NO salvation. But some of them preach and write that if any Christian has many sins and he is plunged in sins up to his neck, if he only keeps the Old Calendar, he will be saved!...

In all the Mysteries, the priests supplicate the Holy Spirit to descend and perform the Sacrament. But to the repentant one confessing, the priest says:

"The Grace of the All-Holy Spirit has loosened and forgiven you in this present age and the age to come."

The fanatical zealots and super zealots of the Old Calendarists - worshippers of the Old Calendar - believe and say that the New Calendar Sacraments are invalid and the Holy Spirit doesn't descend because the Old Calendar is absent. There is no greater deception, impiety, and insanity than this. The Great Theologian St. Gregory says: "The Holy Spirit doesn't always ordain, but He operates through all."

The Divine St. John Chrysostom says that the Sacraments are performed even by the unworthy; the Holy Spirit sanctifies and performs them not for the unworthiness of the Liturgist, but for the sanctification of the faithful and the communion which the faithful receive with God through the Mysteries.

As such, all the Holy Fathers agree with this opinion of the three greatest luminaries of the world; Ss. Basil, Gregory and Chrysostom. Only the fanatic zealots and super zealot Old Calendarists and the Abbess of the Monastery of the Ascension in Kazani don't agree. And wanting to show that they are superior and wiser than the Holy Fathers, they think and preach that the communicants of Holy Communion in the New Calendarist Churches eat bread, wine, chaff and grass...

O foolish Old Calendarists. Who bewitched you?

Who taught you to think and believe that the Old Calendar is of equal strength with the All-Holy Spirit or even higher? And who taught you to believe and think that when the New Calendarists supplicate God to send the Holy Spirit and sanctify their Sacraments the Old Calendar doesn't permit it to descend because they are New Calendarists and it is only allowed to descend for the accurate keepers of the Old Calendar--the fanatic zealots and super zealots?

When the Holy Fathers gave us the Old Calendar, they told us:

"We give you the Julian Calendar, upon the basis of which we regulate to always celebrate the Feast of Pascha in conformity, peace and harmony on the same day so that some don't celebrate earlier and others celebrate later and thus become quarrelsome, disputers and divided."

They didn't tell us that whoever keeps the Old Calendar is saved and upon this hangs all the Law and Prophets. This is the teaching of the very wicked devil.

The All-Sneaky One - just as he trampled upon Adam and Eve in Paradise - trampled upon you to self-title yourselves as ‘Genuine Orthodox’. And as heedless ones, you received his counsel and not God's counsel which He gave to His disciples and all of the Faithful:

"When you do everything, namely, when you keep My law, commandments and orders, say that you are useless servants, we have done what was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10). He didn't order us to say that we are ‘Genuine Orthodox’.

By receiving the Hater-of-Good's counsel and being self-titled "Genuine Orthodox" and by rejecting our Lord Jesus Christ's counsel, who ordered: "When you do everything to say you are useless servants” - you reject humility.

God, Who resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, the Holy Spirit, Who rests in the hearts of the meek, has left from your hearts; He took off.

Rather, you chased Him off/drove Him out, preferring the spirit of pride which taught you anger and internal agitation; but the heart of the agitated is the throne of the devil. It taught you not to have love but rather to have hate, to insult and to smite. And you wildly beat each other even inside the Holy Church. It taught you to think and preach that the Holy Spirit which the New Calendarist Archpriest and priest invoke...doesn't descend because they're not Old Calendarists.

Thus, you also think that from the Apostolic times until the year 325--when the 318 God-bearing Fathers gave us the Old Calendar--the Holy Spirit did not come down for the Christians because they didn't have the Old Calendars! Consequently [Note: according to their theory] they ate bread, drank wine in the Sacrament of Holy Communion and remained unbaptized!...

My spiritual child...from the above, it's obvious that both the New Calendarists and the Old Calendarists are found to be transgressors of the Apostolic and Patristic Traditions; more so the Old Calendarists as they scorn the most Apostoloic and Patristic Traditions and especially love for which the St. Paul the Apostle says: "If anyone doesn't love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema. O Lord come!” (1 Cor. 16:22) and, "Though I speak with tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burners but have not love, I profit nothing” (l Cor.13:1-3).

By not having love, the Old Calendarists are neither benefited nor have good. They boasted and self-titled themselves as ‘Genuine Orthodox’. But by not having love, they are genuine cacodox. The absence of love and humility...blinded their spiritual eyes and they don't see.

Closing the present paternal epistle, I pray that our All-Good God and Heavenly Father safeguards you from the numerous and manifold snares of the crafty devil. St. Anthony the Great saw these snares spread out upon all the earth. Groaning, he said: "How is it possible for someone to escape them?" And he heard a voice, "Humility." As a spiritual father, I counsel you to pray ceaselessly and beg God to give you humility and love. And when you beg Him with faith and devoutness, then He Who orders us to ask will give to you. And when God gives you humility and love, then He will dwell in you, He will shatter the devil's snares and He will save you.

Your doubts about the calendar issue are undone/solved by the teachings of the Bible, the wise and Holy Fathers of our Church as well as prudence and discretion. The New Calendar was introduced into the Church lawlessly, and it broke the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church into two - the O1d Calendarists and the New Calendarists.

The Old Calendarists fell into many great delusions in order to keep the Old Calendar, greater and worse delusions than the New Calendarists. They abolished the first and great commandment of love; introduced new dogmas; introduced the calendars in worship, and dogmatized that the Holy Spirit without the Old Calendar doesn't sanctify the Sacraments of the New Calendarists, etc.

Consequently, the delusions of the Old Calendarists are greater in number and worse than the deceptions of the New Calendarists.

With paternal love and heartfelt prayers,

Archimandrite Philotheos Zervakos