June 18, 2013

A Statement on Gideons International in Greece

A Statement from the Metropolis of Larissa from April 2013:

For many years we have observed the appearance of people who are deceived among us, namely the so-called "Gideons" or "Gideons International" (Φίλοι της Αγίας Γραφής), who belong to a non-denominational Christian organization that distributes free copies of the New Testament and of the Bible in general. In our country they even distribute Greek copies of the New Testament, which is a version by the Greek Bible Society, and approved by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece; a well-known text with the translation by the four Professors. They distribute these to Hotels, Motels, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Penal Institutions, Army Camps, Prisons, Schools and Universities. We want to clarify that the distribution of this text does not hurt, but because in one of the first pages of the text there is the name of the Association which donates it, with their address and the tantalizing proposition that they can be sent as many copies as they want, we want our flock to know, and of course all the Institutions of our region, that these offerings are proselytizing actions and hide the catalytic purpose of this non-denominational organization. This organization in our country is a known offshoot of Protestantism and of the "Greek Evangelical" so-called "Church". It is clear that through this characteristic method they are trying to attract members to their heretical group.

Therefore, please avoid obtaining this text, and especially those who have taken it be careful and do not come into contact with them, do not call them, and do not ask from them for copies of the New Testament. This movement, which at first glance seems commendable, has many negative qualities. Unfortunately they have many blamable points. They try to connect faithful Orthodox Christians with the Protestantism they belong to. The "Gideons" or "Gideons International" have a network all around the world, giving their "gift" to the Institutions mentioned, and above all for young people they set their traps with periodicals and websites, and together with the New Testament they distribute cards which have their web address, with the title: "The site that can change your life!" One is surprised above all by the opportunities they give young people, trying to reach them through "events", parties, trips to their farms, and soccer tournaments, and these follow with attempts to capture the Orthodox Youth in the nets of heresy.

Recently, last Christmas, there was a campaign by the "Gideons" at the University of Thessaloniki, and a group of Orthodox Christian students, to their credit, responded strongly, in order to inform the student community who these people were that so willingly offered the New Testament for free and so many other opportunities for students.

Therefore, in addressing our flock, please be careful, because there is a hidden danger of proselytism from this heretical Protestant sect. We also ask hospitality personnel in Hotels, Directors of Schools, Commanders in the Army, Prison Wardens, Hospital and Nursing Home Directors, as well as other Institutions, especially colleges, sports clubs, etc. where young people go, to not allow the distribution of the New Testament in their form, nor a presentation by representatives from the "Gideons". There is a danger of someone becoming a proselyte to their heresy which exaggerates the Word of God without any reference to our Holy Tradition, our Holy Fathers, who alone are the sole and infallible interpreters of the Word of our Lord and the Holy Mysteries of our Church, which are the basic requirements for the salvation of every faithful member of the Church.

Because our country is currently going through all kinds of crises, which are a sign of the times, let us preserve our youth from the dangers of heresy. Our Church is the soul of our Nation, and our Holy Faith is our connecting link and the security of our Nation through time.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos