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Κυριακή, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Saint Mark of Ephesus on False Union and the Filioque

“To those who have ensnared us in an evil captivity and desire to lead us away into Babylon of Latin rites and dogmas could not, of course completely accomplish this seeing immediately that there is little chance of it, in fact that it was simply impossible but having stopped somewhere in the middle, both they and those who followed after them, they neither remained any longer what they were, nor became anything else.

 For having quit Jerusalem, a firm and unwavering faith, but being in no condition and not wishing to become and to be called Babylonians, they thus called themselves, as if by right, ‘Greco-Latins,’ and among the people are called ‘Latinizers.’ And so these split people, like the mythical centaurs, confess together with the Latins that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son and has the Son as Cause of His existence, and yet together with us confess that He proceeds from the Father. And they say together with them that the addition to the Creed was done canonically and with blessing, and yet together with us do not permit it to be uttered. (Besides, who would turn away from what was canonical and blessed?) And they say together with them that the unleavened bread is the Body of Christ, and yet together with us do not dare accept it. Is this not sufficient to reveal their spirit, and how that it was not in quest of the Truth (which having in their hands, they betrayed) that they came together with the Latins, but from a desire to enrich themselves and to conclude not a true, but a false union.

But one should examine in what manner they have united with them; for everything that is united to something different is naturally united by means of some middle point between them. And thus they imagined to unite with them by means of some judgment concerning the Holy pirit, together with them expressing the opinion that He has existence also from the Son; but everything else between them is divergent, and there is among them neither any middle point no anything in common. Just as before two divergent Creeds are uttered; likewise there are celebrated two Liturgies, divergent and discordant one with the other-one with leavened bread, the other with unleavened bread; divergent also are baptisms; one performed with triple immersion, the other with ‘pouring’ over the head from above, and one with anointing chrism, the other completely without; and all rites are in everything divergent and discordant one with the other, and likewise, the fasts and church usages and other, like things. What kind of unity is this, when there is no apparent and clear sign of it? And in what manner have they united with them, desiring also to preserve their own (for in this they were unanimous) and at the same time not following the traditions of the Fathers?

But what is their own ‘wise’ opinion? ‘Never’ they say, ‘has the Greek Church said that the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father; she has said simply that He proceeds from the Father, thus not excluding the participation of the Son in the Procession of the Holy Spirit. Therefore (they say) both before and now we exhibit unity.’

Alas, what absurdity! Alas,what blindness!  If the Greek Church having received it from Christ Himself and the Holy Apostles and Fathers, has said that the Spirit proceeds from the Father, but has never said (for she has received this from no one) that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, then what else does this signify than that she affirms that the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father? For if He is not from the Son, evidently, He is only from the Father.

Do you know what is said concerning the Generation? ‘Begotten of the Father before all ages.’ Would anyone add here ‘only of the Father?” Yet it is precisely thus and in no other way that we understand it, and, if need be will express it. For we have been taught that the Son is begotten of none else, but only of the Father.  Therefore too John Damascene says, on behalf of the whole Church and all Christians: ‘We do not say that the Holy Spirit is from the Son.’ And if we do not say that the Spirit is also from the Son, then it is apparent that we thus say that the Spirit is only from the Father; therefore a little before this he says: ‘We do not call the Son Cause,’ and in the next chapter: ‘The sole Cause is the Father.’

What more? ‘Never,’ they say, have we considered Latins heretics, but only schismatics.’  But this too they have taken from them (the Latins), for the latter, having nothing with which to accuse us in our doctrine, call us schismatics because we have turned away from obedience to them which, as they think, we should have. But let us examine the matter. Will it be just for us likewise to show them kindness and place no blame on them in matterf of the Faith?

It was they who gave the grounds, for the schism by openly making the addition, which until then they had spoken in secret; while we were the first to separate ourselves from them, or rather, to separate and cut them off from the common Body of the Church. Why may I ask? Because they have the right Faith or have made the addition to the Creed in an Orthodox fashion? Surely whoever would begin to talk like that would not be right in the head. But rather because they have an absurd and impious opinion and for no reason at all made the addition. And so we have turned away from them as heretics and have shunned them.

What more is necessary? The pious canons speak thus: ‘He is a heretic and subject to the canons against heretics who even slightly departs from the Orthodox faith.’ If, then, the Latins do not at all depart from the correct Faith, we have evidently cut them off unjustly: but if they have thoroughly departed from the Faith and that in connection with the theology of the Holy Spirit blaspheme against Whom is the greatest of all perits, then it is clear that they are heretics, and we have cut them off as heretics.

Why do we annoint with chrism those of them who come to us? Is it not clear that it is because they are heretics? For the seventh canon of the Second Ecumenical Council states: ‘As for thsoe heretics who betake themselves to Orthodoxy, and to the lot of those being saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom: ‘Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabellians, and Novatians, those calling themselves Chathari (‘Puritans’) and Aristeri (‘Best’), and the Quartodecimans, otherwise known as Tetradites, and Apollinarians we accept when they offer libelli (recantations in writing) and anathematize every heresy that does not hold the same beliefs as the Catholic and Apostolic Church of God, and are sealed first with holy chrism on their forehead and their eyes, and nose, and mouth, and ears, and in sealing them we say: ‘The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.’

Do you see with whom we number those who come from the Latins? If all those(enumerated in the canons) are heretics, then it is clear that these Latins are the same. And what does the most wise Patriarch of Antioch, Theodore Balsamon, say of this in his reply to the Most Holy Patriarch of Alexandria, Mark? ‘Imprisoned Latins and others coming to our Catholic churches request communion of the Divine Sacraments. We desire to know: is this permissable?’ The answer “‘He that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathers not with me is scattered.’ Because many years ago the celebrated Roman Church was separated from communion with the other for Most Holy Patriarchs, having apostatized into customs and doctrines foreign to the Catholic Church and not Orthodoxy (it was for this reason that the Pope was not deemed worthy of sharing in the commemoration of the names of the Eastern Patriarchs at Divine Services), and therefore we must not sanctify one of the Latin race through the Divine and most pure Gifts (given) by priestly hands, unless he shal first resolve to depart from Latin dogmas and customs and shall be catechized and joined to those of Orthodoxy.”‘

Do you hear how they have departed not only in customs, but also in dogmas foreign to those of Orthodoxy (and what is foreign to Orthodox dogma is, of course, heretical teaching), and that, according to the canons, they must be catechized and united to Orthodoxy? And if it is necessary to catechize, then clearly it is necessary to anoint them with chrism. How have they suddently presented themselves to us as Orthodox, they who for so long and according to the judgment of such great Fathers and Teachers have been considered heretics? Who has so easily made them Orthodox? It is gold, if you desure to acknowledge the truth, and your own thirst for gain; of, to express it better, it did not make them Orthodox, but made you like them and carried you into the camp of the heretics.

‘But if,’ they say, ‘we had devised some middle ground (compromise) between dogmas, then thanks to this we would have united with them and accomplished our business superbly, without at all having been forced to say anything except what corresponds to custom and has been handed down by the Fathers.’  This is precisely the means by which many, from of old, have been deceived and persuaded to follow those who have led them off to the steep precipice of impiety; believing that there is some kind of middle ground between two teachings that can reconcile obvious contradictions, they have been exposed to peril.

If the Latin dogma is true that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from the Son, then ours is false that states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and this is precisely the reason for which we separated from them; and if ours is true, then without doubt theirs is false. What kind of middle ground can there be between two such judgments? There can be none, unles it were some kind of judgmenet suitable to both the one and the other, like a boot that fits both feet.  And will this unite us?

But someone will say, how shall we regard those moderate Greco-Latins who, maintaining a middle ground, openly favor some of the Latin rites and dogmas, favor but do not wish to accept others, and entirely disapprove of still others? One must flee from them as one fless from a snake, as from the Latins themselves, or it may be, from those who are even worse than they as from buyers and sellers of Christ. For they, as the Apostle says ‘suppose that gain is godliness’ (1 Tim 6:5), and of whom he adds, ‘flee these (1 Tim 6:11), for they go over to them not in order to learn, but for gain. ‘What communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial> or what has he that believes with an unbeliever? (2 Cor 6:14ff)

Behold how we, together with Damascene and all the Fathers, do not say that the Spirit proceeds from the Son, while they, together with the Latins, say that the Spirit proceeds from the Son. And we, together with the divine Dionysios say that the Father is the sole Source of the supernatural divinity while say together withthe Latins that the Son also is the Source of the Holy Spirit, bu this clearlyexcluding the Spirit from the Divinity. And we, together with Gregory the Theologian,distinguishthe Father from the Son in His capacity of being Cause, while they together with the latins unite Them into one in the capacity of being Cause. And we, together with St. Maximus and the Romans of that time and the Western Fathers, ‘do not make the Son the Cause of the Spirit’ while they, in their Conciliar Decree (Act of Union), proclaim the Son ‘in Freek, Cause and in Latin, Principle’ of the Spirit. And we, together with the Philosopher and Justin Matyr affirm ‘As the Son is from the Father, so is the Spirit from the Father’ while they say together with the Latins that the Son proceeds from the Father immediately, and the Spirit from the Father mediately. And we together with Damascene and all the Fathers, confess that itis not known to us in what consists the difference between eneration and procession, while they, togethert with Thomas Aquinas and the latins, say that the difference consists in this, that generation is immediate and procession mediate. And we affirm, in agreement with the Fathers, that the Will and Energy of the Uncreated and Divine Nature are uncreated; while they that will is identical with Nature, but that the Divine Energy is created, whether it be called Divinity, or the Divine and Imaterial Light or the Holy Spirit, or something else ‘of this nature, and in some fashion these poor creatures worship’ the created ‘Divinity’ and the created ‘Divine Light’ and the created ‘Holy Spirit.’ And we say that neither do the Saints receive the Kingdom and the unutterable blessings already prepared for them, nor are sinners already sent to hell, but both await their fate which will be received in the future age after the resurrection and judgment; while they toegether with the Latins, desire immediately after death to receive according their merits, and for those in an intermediate condition, who have died in repeencetence, they give a purgatorial fire (which is not identical with that of hell) so that, as theysay, having purified their souls by it after death, they also together with the righteous will enjoy the Kindgom of Heaven; this is contained in their Conciliar Decree (Act of Union). And we, obeying the Apostles, who have prohibited it, shun Jewish unleavened bread; while thye, in the same Act of Union, proclaim that what is used in the services of the Latins is the Body of Christ. And we say that the addition to the Creed acorse uncanonically and anticanonically and contrary to the Fathers, while they affirm that it is canonical and blessed to such an extent are they unaware how to conform to the Truth and to themselves! And for us the Pope is as one of the Patriarchs, and that only, if he be Orthodox, while they with great gravity proclaim him Vicar of Christ, Father and Teacher of all Christians. May they be more fortunate than their Father, who are also like him, for he does not greatly prosper, having an antipope who is the cause of sufficient unpleasantness and they are not happy to imitate him.

And so, brethren, flee from them and from communion with them, ‘for they are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is not great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness whose end shall be according to their works.’ ( 2 Cor 11:13-15) And in another place the same Apostle says of them ‘For they that are such as serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal. ‘(Rom 16:18, 2 Tim 2:19) And in another place, ‘Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision,’ (Philip 3:2) And then, in another place, ‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that whcih we have preached to you, let him be accursed.’  (Gal 1:8) See what has been prophetically foretold, that, ‘though an angel from heaven so that no one could cite in justification of himself an especially high position.  And the beloved Disciple speaks thus, If there come any to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting; for he that giveth him greeting is a partaker in his evil deeds.’ (2 John 10-11)

Therefore, in so far as this is what has been commanded you by the Holy Apostles, stand aright, and hold firm to the traditions which you have received, both written and by word of mouth, that you not be deprived of your firmeness if  you become led away with delusions of the lawless. May God, who is All powerful, make them also to know their delusion, an having delivered us from them as evil tares, may He gather us into His grainaries like pure and useful wheat in Jesus Christ our Lord, to Whom belongs all glory, honor and worship, with His Father Who is without begining and His All Holy and Good and Life giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

July 1440 A.D.

source :  Energetic Procession

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