April 30, 2012

An Encyclical Against Fanatical Evangelicals

My Beloved Christians,

Christ is Risen!

With the help of God we celebrated this year again the great days of the salvific Passion and the glorious Resurrection of our Lord.

However, despite the great blessings of these days, temptations were not absent. Thus, during Holy Week, the so-called Jehovah's Witnesses launched in the region of Mesogeion and Lavriotiki proselytizing activity among Christians, with the purpose of confusing and acquiring unsuspecting followers.

What is even more unfortunate is that along the same lines others were moving, purporting to be preachers of the Gospel and self-proclaimed Christians, that is, followers of the Lord Jesus; people that we are supposedly in dialogue with for mutual understanding, were the same "deceiving and deceived", in the middle of Renewal Week, in the area of Pallini and Pikermiou, sent phone messages by SMS, in an effort to attract "friends" who belong to the blessed body of our holy Church, to possibly include them in their religious organization, what they call "Abundant Life", in order to, as they write, "save people".

These, known by the name Evangelicals, have replaced theology with arbitrary reflection, the Mysteries and worship with sermons and religious songs, and prefer a Christianity that is based more on human reason than divine revelation.

They deny the Panagia and our Saints, the Mysteries and Icons, our blessed Tradition and Worship. They invite the Orthodox to celebrate without the Lamentation Hymns and the Epitaphios, without the Akathists' and the Paraklesis', without Holy Communion and the words of the Fathers, without honor towards the Martyrs and the righteous Ascetics, replacing all these things with dry religious rhetoric.

At a time when many who were deceived by the same and have felt betrayed and thirsty and are returning in groups to our Church - even in our own Metropolis in recent years many dozens have been catechized - they are trying to seduce innocent souls from the blessed baptismal font of our Orthodox Faith.

Our Church can perhaps appear absent from its pastoral calling, and can, as it has accepted state influence by an unhealthy relationship with the state, often seem inconsistent with the life of faith.

But no one can contest that our Church has preserved the authentic Christian teaching till today, as well as the wealth of its high theology and the conscience of true tradition.

With my contribution I wanted to draw everyone's attention beyond all impassioned fanaticism. It is unfair to ourselves to exchange the gold of our Orthodox Faith for the polished copper of pseudo-teachers, to replace the timeless treasure of the truth of Christ with baseless human interpretations of the Gospel.

Those who supposedly evangelize the word of God in the Greece of Martyrs, of Miracles, of Tradition, would do good to learn the Gospel not like they want with their outlandish spiritual weak mindedness, but as it has been lived by the ecumenical Church in its unbroken history, especially in this land.

This is not proselytizing, this is holy evangelism. This is what we need.

This ultimately will incite all of us to return to our Orthodoxy, all of us, even us who are born Orthodox, with our hearts and with our lives.

With warm blessings in the Resurrection and fatherly love,

† NICHOLAS of Mesogaias and Lavreotiki

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos