Почетна / Engish version / Chorbishop Maximus of Novo Brdo and Panonia: A THEOLOGICAL EXPLANATION CONCERNING THE EXISTENCE AND MISSION OF THE DIOCESE OF RAŠKA-PRIZREN AND KOSOVO-METOHIJA IN EXILE [1]

Chorbishop Maximus of Novo Brdo and Panonia: A THEOLOGICAL EXPLANATION CONCERNING THE EXISTENCE AND MISSION OF THE DIOCESE OF RAŠKA-PRIZREN AND KOSOVO-METOHIJA IN EXILE [1]

Christ the Lord, the Cornerstone (Acts 4,11) and Foundation (1 Corinthians 3,11) of our Faith, our salvation, our theology and our Church, came down to earth, and bestowed His divine knowledge upon fallen humanity. Furthermore, by virtue of his coming into this world, He also bestowed upon us the most precious gift of all – namely, His very Self. For He Himself is our salvation. He Himself is our wisdom and the Word or Logos of God, the source of all wisdom and theology. He Himself is Head of the Church and the Church is His Body. Through His Church and His Grace, that is, through the Sacraments and the holy virtues, He becomes accessible to all those who are baptized as Orthodox Christians. Therefore, it is obvious why salvation is possible only for them. How can this be? Christ’s answer to us is clear: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14,6); and to the Father of Heaven, one can come only through Christ; and to Christ, one can come and be clothed in Him only through Holy Baptism, within the Orthodox Faith and the Orthodox Church. Thus, as Founder of God’s Church, Christ sent His holy disciples as Apostles into the world, with the following commandment: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Amen (Matthew 28, 19-20).

It is also clear that Christ dwells in His Church forever, because this truth is declared in Christ’s promise by His words “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age“, and confirmed by the declaration “Amen“.  However, we see that these words of Our Lord refer only to those who have received Holy Baptism and have fulfilled all of Christ’s commandments and not just some parts of them. The Church is the Church, precisely thanks to Christ who dwells within Her, and the Church belongs to Christ only if She preserves the whole Tradition imparted Her by Christ, in the complete Evangelical, Apostolic and Patristic fullness of that Tradition. The confirmation that the Church belongs to Christ and that the Church is the Church at all, consists of this integral preservation of Christ’s precepts in their whole divine-human fullness, and the Apostolic Tradition, bequeathed to us by the Apostles’ successors, namely, the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church of God. Indeed, according to the words of St. Justin Popović, the Church is the God-Man Christ extended throughout the centuries and throughout the whole of eternity [2]. Only through the True Orthodox Faith does Christ and His Grace dwell within the Church throughout the centuries. The fact that the integral (and not partial) preservation of the Deposit of the Orthodox Faith is of crucial importance, is evidenced by the following words of St. Photios the Great: It is really necessary that we all preserve everything, but above all, everything concerning the Faith, because here, even the smallest deviation represents a mortal sin.[3] The biographer of this Saint already reminds us that, like St. Photios the Great, we should all demonstrate a zeal for the “truth of love“, in order not to be numbered – because of the lack of this zeal – among those, about whom the Holy Apostle says will perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved (2 Thess 2,10). From this point emerges the aforementioned claim, that the Church is the Church, as the place of communion with God and source of salvation, only when She possesses this fullness of the divine knowledge of Christ, and the Apostolic-Patristic Tradition.

The Holy Fathers knew this truth very well, and it was the main guideline and inspiration for their pastoral work and service in the Church. Without preservation of the whole written and oral Tradition of the Church and, primarily, the true Dogmas of the Orthodox Faith, there is no Church. Because, as St. Maximus the Confessor proclaims: The Lord has identified the Church with the right and salvational confession of the Faith, and therefore, even Peter was calledblessed,[4] because he had made a good confession (Matthew 16,18). Of course, the Lord talks here about confessing the salvational truth of the Orthodox Faith, which contains and represents within itself the very Truth Itself, that is Christ. Christ is the Truth, as He Himself testifies about Himself (John 14,6). This Truth is accessible only through the True Faith, that is through the truthful knowledge of God. Thus, the truth through which one can access Christ Who is the Truth, is precisely the true, unchangeable, dogmatic and Holy Orthodox Faith. Beyond this Truth there is no Truth, no Christ, no Church, and no salvation. About the truth and truthfulness of Christ and His evangelical wisdom, the Lord Himself says:

My testimony is valid (John 8,14);

He who sent me is trustworthy (John 8,26);

The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me (John 18,37);

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth (John 17,17).

The Holy Apostles also testify about this:

For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth (Ephesians 5,9);

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true… think about such things (Philippians 4,8);

you heard it and truly understood God’s grace (Colossians 1,6);

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us (2 John 1,4);

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 1,4).

For this reason, in his letter to the hapless and arrogant Pope Nicholas I, St. Photios the Great emphasised that: Nothing is dearer than the Truth.[5] In this spirit, one of the great contemporary Orthodox theologians, Archbishop Averky Taushev (1906-1976) adds: Therefore, it is perfectly evident to all, that Christianity is, above all, the religion of the Truth, which the Son of God brought to earth from His Father in heaven (John 12,49). The Lord Jesus Christ promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to his disciples, for no other reason other, that He, as the Spirit of Truth, could guide them into all the Truth (John 16,13). This divine Truth is the most important thing in Christianity, it is by itself the essence of Christianity. Every Christian should adhere to this Truth more than to anything else in the world and he should sacrifice his life for it, if it is necessary, as the numerous Martyrs, Confessors and Holy Fathers of the Church did, fighting tirelessly against the false preachers-heretics who had deviated from this Truth.[6] This truth about which the Archbishop Averky writes, is possessed only by those bishops, priests and faithful who are Orthodox, and who unequivocally adhere to this truth of the uncorrupted Faith, confessing it and preaching it according to the teachings of the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers, preserving and defending it, and striving to live within it and according to it. A life lived in the truth of Patristic Faith means a life that is pious. Hence, Orthodox Christians are only those who piously confess the devotional, truthful and Holy Orthodox Faith, and who live piously within it. Because of this essential importance of preserving the Holy Orthodox Faith and living within it, the Holy Fathers had once and for all, set themselves the most holy task and goal of preserving the authentic Dogmas of the Holy Orthodox Faith and the entire Tradition of the Church. In this way, they not only showed us the path to salvation and how to properly serve God and the Church, but they obliged us to set ourselves this most holy and noble task of preserving the Holy Orthodox Faith above everything else. The main edifying force of the Church throughout the centuries, has emerged from the Holy Fathers’ zeal to serve the purity and truth of the Orthodox Faith. This was their main goal and intention. Thus, it is not by chance that all of the divinely inspired Patristic works, replete with evangelical honesty and apostolic boldness in defence of the Orthodox Faith – especially during times of persecution – are the most solid foundation upon which the Church has been fortified, preserved and built up throughout the centuries.

The setting of any other task above this one, represents a violation of pastoral duty by ecclesiastical dignitaries and priests, and is not beneficial, but rather detrimental to the Church. Just as throughout history, so also today, do we see this same pattern repeating itself in practice. Because, if we abandon this singularly authentic and serious approach to the Faith and the Church, we not only risk losing sight of the goal of pastoral service and living within the Church, but of deviating from the path of our Holy Fathers and going astray upon the road of open betrayal of the Orthodox Faith as well. This road leads to estrangement and detachment from the Faith, from the Church and from Christ.

The difference between true and false peace and unity in the Church

The phenomenon of going astray from the true paths of the Church of God, could be seen in the example of our contemporaries in the Serbian Orthodox Church and in other regional Churches, who – instead of preserving the Orthodox Faith – set as their main task, the preservation of external, artificial and therefore false peace and unity in the Church. This includes the best possible positioning of the Church within current secular circumstances and events. By opting for such illusory peace, unity and prosperity, these irresponsible church shepherds deny the basic theological truth of the Church that without unity in the Orthodox Faith there is neither unity nor peace in the Church.

Some others, consider the maintaince of church buildings, budgets – and, generally, the Church in the sense of Her material features – as their main task. As if the Church were not a spiritual entity and edifice above all else, but rather, an architectural or financial one. This consideration identifies the Church with its walls and treasury, and such a consideration is unworthy of a Christian understanding and experience of the Church. Furthermore, it is far from the truth of the Faith and essence of the Church, in the theological and ecclesiological sense. Generally speaking, our straying contemporaries amongst the ranks of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s dignitaries and their acolytes led by the Patriarch Irinej (who publicly declares his support for Ecumenism), are trying to preserve only the external features of the Church, as if She were some purely sociological phenomenon. This line of thought, whose ideological basis is the heresy of Ecumenism, has to our great regret, also overwhelmed other regional Churches like some kind of spiritual virus. Because of these secular and non-spiritual ideas espoused by such so-called church shepherds and theologians, the very essence of the Church withdraws itself from them and they lose it. They lose the divine-human depth and Christological breadth of the Church as a divine-human organism, whose foundation is the True Orthodox Faith, the Faith which fortifies us with Christ as its Head. Because of this, there arises in contemporary non-Orthodox theology, a Papist overemphasis of one sociological phenomenon and detail, that identifies the Church with a community of faithful headed by any bishop, thereby contradicting a much more important fact that the Church is – first and foremost – a community of faithful headed by Christ, and only secondarily a community of faithful, headed exclusively by a bishop who rightly confesses the Orthodox Faith. Therefore, the idea espoused by the adepts of non-Orthodox tendencies within contemporary Eucharistic Theology – according to which a bishop is an icon of Christ ex officio in his own right – truly resembles the disjuncture within the heretical dogma of Papal Infallibility, whereby the Pope is infallible only ex cathedra (when he preaches and professes the faith from his chair), while in his everyday life he may be sinful, as is believed by heretical Roman Catholics. On the contrary, it is only by his Orthodox Confession of the Faith, and especially by his pious life, that a bishop becomes a living icon of Christ that is full of grace. A bishop should not solely present himself ex officio and impose himself as a mere icon of Christ while concealing his spiritual void behind his title. To think otherwise, would imply a Papist understanding of the bishop’s role, according to which a bishop is a deputy of Christ on earth – a well-known tenet of the heretical Papist organization. Thus does this exaggerated element of renovationist Eucharistic Theology, reveal its pseudo-theological and Papist aspirations.

Such a totally humanistic concern for the so-called preservation of the Church as a merely human community and organization beyond every context and notion of the true divine-human Orthodox Faith – and indeed, even proceding as far as direct renunciation of this Faith – is actually, аn uncreative revivification of the Sergianist heresy, that was specifically exposed and condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Those who wish to preserve only the external peace and unity of the Church neglect the Truth of all truths – namely, that without insistence on both the Truth of the Orthodox Faith and its preservation, every peace in the Church is a false peace and every unity in the Church is a false unity. And, worst of all, every such Church is on the road to becoming a false Church. Because this and every other such unity without the Orthodox Faith, is a unity without Christ Who said: Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Matthew 12, 30). Every unity in the Church without the True Faith, i.e. without Christ, is a unity with Antichrist. So we can see how dangerous such a false peace and such a false unity are, because, as we have shown, they do not serve the divine purpose of preserving and edifying the Church, but instead, serve the sinister and Godless purpose of destroying the Church. For the Church is not an administrative and bureaucratic system composed of people wearing cassocks. The Church is Christ Himself, expressed and manifested in the pious confession of the Orthodox Faith and sacramental life of virtue within and in accordance to this Faith, by all the members of the Church headed by Christ. Everything else is not the Church, but an imitation of the Church, a mockery of the Church, an identification of the Church with an organization of self-management, in which the democratic principles of majority rule prevail. This type of reasoning is nothing more than a simulation of the Church and Her life, via the organization of glamorous events and scandalous ceremonies, including episcopal ordinations and dedications of newly built and often improperly decorated temples, where verbose but spiritually arid philosophical homilies and lectures are delivered without the truth and spiritual force of the Orthodox Faith. Here we have an identification of the Church with a team – a team of bishops as footballers, bishops as politicians or bishops as businessmen. We can find the proof for this claim, in the increasingly dwindling congregations within all the temples of Serbian Orthodox Church. This happens because, thanks to the bishops mentioned previously – who are in reality, pretenders and dogmatic relativists – the Church loses Her divine-human and salvational, apostolic and missionary, patristic and veracious, martyric and confessional, holy and ascetic, righteous and practical vigour and vibrancy.

In the context of the heretical Ecumenical Movement, it is already clear what this ultimate goal of mortifying the Church by identifying Her with some purely external form of Christian community is – namely, the overemphasizing of the Church’s sociological characteristics as a community of faithful around a bishop-administrator, and the subsequent intimidation that outside of such a formal community, there is no salvation. In the context of such teachings about the Church, this goal is set in order to enable church dignitaries and leaders – who are willing to compromise with the world on the Sacred Dogmas, since their own faith and piety is so scanty and meagre – to arbitrarily or by majority vote of their supporter bishops, form a church union with the Pope of Rome. After that, anyone who does not accept this union will be excommunicated, and – according to the unwholesome and unsound logic of the aforementioned Eucharistic Theology – they will be deprived of salvation. Consequently, we are opposed to the contemporary ‘Eucharistic Theology’ and its liturgical renovations, because together, they provide the impious theological basis and justification of the Ecumenical movement, which leads directly to union with the Pope of Rome.

 

The struggle of our Bishop and our Diocese for the preservation of the Faith is the main reason for our exile

Our Bishop Artemije, being a faithful spiritual child of St. Justin Popović – that formidable spiritual tree planted by God in the spiritual garden of St. Sava that is the Serbian Orthodox Church – faithfully preserves the theological Tradition of both the aforementioned Holy Fathers. We particularly wish to emphasize, that the quintessential theological message of St. Justin is as follows: with every care and zeal, preserve the unchangeable and unspoiled confession of the Orthodox Faith and live within this Faith and in harmony with it. Bishop Artemije has accepted this fundamental Orthodox Tradition, which is etched into his pastoral-ascetic personality and deeds, and – as is quite natural – he has conveyed it to his flock and his Diocese, which is that part of the spiritual garden of St. Sava of Serbia conferred upon him by God. Unfortunately, the envy of Church ‘shepherds’ bereft of pastoral purpose and Orthodox orientation, has laid its evil hand upon the spiritual garden of Bishop Artemije, with intention to destroy. Furthermore, this envious hand is assisted by the aggressive impudence of world rulers and globalist magnates. Nevertheless, that part of the flock in our Diocese which is deeply rooted in the aforementioned Tradition of our Bishop, has remained unscathed by this evil hand, and only those without roots in themselves, have been torn apart and have withered away. A false gardener called Teodosije – who the Holy Ecumenical Fathers in keeping with Canon Law rightfully characterize as a spiritual adulterer bishop – has only managed to lay his hands upon the fence of the spiritual garden of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren. However, the healthy seedlings of this Diocese have remained in the hands of Bishop Artemije, who is their true gardener and husbandman.

To put it in simpler terms, our Diocese has been physically expelled from its terrestrial borders, but as a spiritually healthy entity and organism, it has continued to exist, live and develop where it has now found itself by force of circumstances and not according to our will – that is, in all directions throughout every part of our country, and even abroad. This continuation of our Diocese has been achieved thanks to our Bishop, who by keeping the Tradition of the Church alive, has set as the main goal for all of us, the preservation of the unchangeable and unspoiled Orthodox Faith and life according to it. Naturally, this struggle of ours for the preservation of the Orthodox Faith has its enemies, because, wherever there is a struggle there also is an enemy. The main enemy of the Orthodox Faith with whom we are confronted today, is the heresy of Ecumenism which is the essence, basis and inspiration of every modernism and renovationism, through which all bewildered, lost and disoriented shepherds are, like contemporary mercenaries, attempting to ‘rectify’, ‘change’, and ‘reform’ – that is, to dissolve, disfigure and despoil the Orthodox Faith, and in so doing, to disintegrate the Church of Christ Himself. It is quite natural therefore, that in this struggle and confrontation with the heretical Ecumenist movement and doctrine within the Serbian Orthodox Church and elsewhere, we also enter the battle against the ringleaders of doctrinal Ecumenist Modernism. Since these ringleader Ecumenists are bishop-bureaucrats, bishop-spokesmen, bishop-designers, bishop-businessmen, bishop-footballers, bishop-fishermen and bishop-politicians who have usurped Church institutions and power, this confrontation was transferred to the ecclesiastical-administrative level, which had as a consequence, the persecution and exile of ourselves and our Diocese. Thus, we have found ourselves in exile. In their attempts to deny that these shepherd-usurpers of administrative power in the Church persecute and expel us, they claim that we fabricate accounts about their persecutions against us. They claim that we persecute ourselves, as if we were somehow crazy and deranged. Of course, this is only a demagogic and unsuccessful attempt to negate the fact, that we were literally expelled from our monasteries and Diocese by the special forces of the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) – which is an Albanian terrorist police unit – precisely by order of Patriarch Irinej and the Ecumenist bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. This is also confirmed by the implemented heritage of the former communist regime, which ensured that after our expulsion from the territory of our Diocese, Bishop Artemije was held under house arrest and kept under twenty four hour police surveillance for two months, as was the case with St. Justin Popović and the Holy Hieromartyr, St.Varnava of Hvosno. This nefarious unity and cooperation between the highest ranks of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the police forces of the unrecognized and terrorist Albanian ‘republic’ in Kosovo, is further testified by collective footage of these aforementioned unlawful acts, as well as by a multitude of other audio, video and written materials concerning this and many other acts of persecution by the dignitaries of the Serbian Orthodox Church, directed against us and our Diocese. We do not have time to elaborate upon all of these acts in detail. Suffice to say that this clash of ours with the Ecumenist bishops and Patriarch Irinej was inevitable, because, as we have already declared, it is impossible to fight Ecumenism without confronting Ecumenists. Otherwise, we would be like politicians who promise to fight against crime, but without actually confronting criminals (something which in reality, unfortunately often happens).

However, this persecution has not prevented us from pursuing our main goal, which is defence of the Faith. In fact, it has strengthened us even further, and now more than ever, defence of the Faith is the main purpose and inspiration for our persecuted, unlawfully discriminated against, mocked and humiliated Diocese, which is nevertheless, upheld and empowered by God. While this is indeed a joy for the faithful, for others, it provokes unjustified fear and sorrow, because we fight for the return of unity in confession of the Orthodox Faith within the Serbian Orthodox Church, and for the true peace and unity in the Holy Spirit. Because without the Orthodox Faith, there is neither unity with the Holy Spirit, nor unity in the Holy Spirit. As our experience has shown until now, walking upon this road while maintaining the right direction, is walking upon the infallible road of Christ, the Holy Apostles and Holy Fathers. After all, we only learn as much as we can from the Apostolic and Patristic experience, written in the hagiographies of the Holy Apostles and Holy Fathers, who are the ultimate defenders of the True Faith. This experience can also be found in their most profound dogmatic works, which they have left behind for all posterity, and also in Canon Law, which constitutes the canonical formulation of the Apostolic and Patristic experience, in the struggle for the preservation of the Faith.

On this occasion, it is important to definitively silence all those who (motivated by their small-minded and speculative mindset), accuse Bishop Artemije of initiating a struggle against the Ecumenist and administrative top echelons of the Serbian Orthodox Church, only after his uncanonical dethronement and expulsion. First of all, from the very beginning of his pastoral work as a hieromonk and archimandrite, Bishop Artemije was already known for his immovable, immutable, unfaltering and persistent zeal for the Orthodox Faith, thanks to the blessings and examples given to him by St. Justin Popović. The truth of this fact, is widely acknowledged in the Serbian Orthodox Church. Here, we must primarily emphasize the vehement opposition of Bishop Artemije to any kind of reform concerning the Faith, especially his opposition to the heretical Ecumenist movement in the Serbian Orthodox Church and elsewhere. He spoke, wrote and fought against this heresy for many years. His reports and essays, written for the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as his criticism of the Ecumenical Movement and Serbian ecclesiastic participation in the World Council of Churches, will forever remain in our collective memory. As an immediate result of this activity, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church made an official decision to walk out from the aforementioned heretical World Council of Churches. Unfortunately however, this decision was never implemented, thanks to the machinations of the Ecumenist bishops in the hierarchy. Such vigorously devoted anti-Ecumenist activity of Bishop Artemije meant that in his person, the following psalmic verse of the prophet David was fulfilled: I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war (Psalm 120,7). In fact, the Ecumenists could not bear such strong opposition to their uniate goals, so the Ecumenist bishops headed by the publicly declared Ecumenist Patriarch Irinej, started an indisputably brutal and administrative persecution of all Orthodox bishops, beginning with the persecution and violent dethronement of Bishop Artemije. The commencement of such persecution of the Orthodox bishops by the Ecumenist Patriarchate in Belgrade, has in its turn provoked a fitting response on our part, and in particular, an intensification of our anti-Ecumenist struggle through the more suitable and sober means provided by Canon Law. It was therefore necessary to move from words to deeds, just as the Ecumenists themselves began persecuting Anti-Ecumenists in practice. We have moved from verbal opposition to oppositional deeds, by severing our liturgical and administrative ties to the Ecumenist Patriarch Irinej, because it became patently obvious that the part of the Serbian Orthodox Church infected with Ecumenism needed a much stronger medicine than written or spoken words of admonition. This – and not some kind of love of power – is the fundamental reason for Bishop Artemije’s opposition to the Ecumenist top echelons of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Instead of propagating his own cult of exiled martyr and innocent prisoner suffering from pathetic fervour whom we both mourn and defend – as some light-minded and theologically shortsighted commentators have suggested – Bishop Artemije (as befits a true shepherd), had in fact, boldly decided to confront the spiritual Ecumenist wolves, who have attacked the faithful Flock of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Canon XV of the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople as our canonical stronghold in the struggle for the preservation of the Orthodox Faith and Church

The Holy Fathers gathered twice in Constantinople at the Councils of 859 and 861. Both of these Councils are regarded as one regional Council, bearing the name “Ninth“ or “First-and-Second Council of Constantinople“, because there were two of the aforementioned gatherings of bishops. This Council had adopted 17 canons that have a general validity in the Orthodox Church. Furthermore, this Council recognized and confirmed the Holy Seventh Ecumenical Council as Ecumenical, Iconoclasm was once more condemned as heresy and St. Photius the Great was confirmed as a legitimate Patriarch of Constantinople. The Council was presided over by St. Photius the Great, and it is with good reason that we commemorate him in the liturgical service written in his honour, by chanting that he was the greatest opponent and destroyer of heresies, who protected the Holy Nicene Creed from heretical amendments and spoilage.[7] By following this line of reasoning demonstrated by St. Photius the Great and many other Orthodox Confessors, we have concluded that for us, for our time, for the circumstances in which we find ourselves and for our struggle, the most important Canon of this Council is Canon XV that states: But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by Holy Synods, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any Conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honour which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions.[8]

This Council had mostly concerned itself with the issue of fugitive monks who due to excessive zeal but not according to knowledge, had fled from their bishops. This is why the first seven Canons of this Council are dedicated to the question of monastic discipline in the Church. Nevertheless, knowing how much damage a heresy can inflict upon the Church and notwithstanding the need for discipline as pointed out by this Council, Canon XV was adopted, a fact recorded in the hagiography of St. Photius the Great: In the end, the Holy Council had decreed the followingif a bishop publicly preaches some heresy condemned by the Holy Synods or Fathers, those who cease commemoration of such a Bishop during the Holy Liturgy, even before any Conciliar verdict has been made concerning such a bishop, they are not only not subject to any condemnation, but they should be deemed worthy to enjoy every honour.[9] As we can see, this Canon only confirms that which we emphasised at the beginning of this article – that, in the Church of God, the preservation of the Orthodox Faith is more important, salvific and essential than anything else. Not only is change and distortion of the Faith forbidden, but by praising those who act as it prescribes, this Canon also directly obliges us to oppose church leaders whenever they publicly preach heresy, because such false shepherds are no longer to be considered as being legitimate authorities, and consequently, we should renounce our obedience to them in such cases. Therefore, whenever the Faith is threatened, a defence of the Faith is more important than superficial discipline in the Church. This Canon therefore, demonstrates the essential divine-human balance within the organism of the Church. It shows that at times when we must choose between the preservation of superficial ecclesiastical discipline on the one hand, and the preservation of the True Faith on the other, then we should not vacillate, but always put the preservation of the True Faith above everything – even above the superficial system of discipline in the Church, because if this discipline is not based on correct dogmatic principles, then it only creates a dangerous illusion of discipline, peace and unity. In fact, such peace and order without the True Faith, represent a betrayal of the Church, the Faith and Christ. For this reason, the Apostle Paul warns us: I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them (Romans 16,17). The Apostle argues that a schism in the Church is defined by its opposition to the sound knowledge of the Apostolic and Patristic Confession of the Faith, and not by opposition to church leaders who deny such knowledge. Therefore, when writing about the proper relationship with those who corrupt the Faith, Archbishop Averky asserts: For a genuine Christian there is no question, there is no doubt about how to behave towards such people – for him, such people are not Orthodox Christians, even if they hold the highest clerical ranks! And, of course, unity in Christian love and prayers with them is impossible. A real Christian love can exist only among those united in truth. It is not by chance that, in the Divine Liturgy – before the Anaphora – we listen the deacon’s words: ‘Let us love one another, that with oneness of mind we may confess’, and the response of the faithful: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Trinity, one in essence and undivided. Without this unanimity, a unity in love, a unity in prayer and especially a unity in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ in the Divine Liturgy, are not possible.[10]

The Apostolic Doctrine warning us to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned – and to keep away from such persons – clearly shows that Canon XV does not allow the violation of numerous Canons obliging every clergyman and layman to show obedience to the Church authorities. However, it does say that we should avoid those Church members in authority and in the hierarchy, who do not have a proper and sound Orthodox Confession of the Faith. In its essence, this Canon actually reveals that Apostolic and Patristic wisdom is profoundly connected with the purpose of all the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Church. This wisdom confirms that the Sacred Canons are only judicial formulations of the Sacred Dogmas. Speaking in terms of active life within the Church, this means that the Sacred Canons were written and envisaged in order to be respected and binding, but only at such times when the proper dogmatic foundations of the Church are unshakeable, i.e. when the unchangeable and unspoiled Orthodox Faith as formulated in the Sacred Orthodox Dogmas prevails in the Church. In other words, the Canons in the Church are valid in terms of their mandatory and absolute applicability, only when normality predominates, at times when the Church is not being shaken and threatened by heresies, persecutions, and suchlike. Because, as St. Nicephorus the Confessor wisely said – in the Church, whenever a struggle with heresies is taking place, many things are necessarily legitimate that would not be allowed in ordinary circumstances.[11] The history of the Church and struggle for the True Faith shows that that if during attacks on the Church by heresies and heretics, we care only about the superficial canonical system, we will forfeit that essential dogmatic system on which the Canons and whole Church are based. Bearing in mind that such unfortunate circumstances were frequent throughout Church history, the Holy Conciliar Fathers at the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople thought it appropriate to adopt Canon XV. It is important to note, that this Canon was implemented in those days when the Church finally dealt with the heresy of Iconoclasm – following a century and a half-long struggle – and that this Canon is only a judicial formulation of the deep martyric experience of the Church in Her battle with this and other heresies. If it were not for this Canon and the appropriate actions prescribed in the circumstances foreseen by it, a heresy could automatically infect the whole Church. For example, a leader of some regional Church or Diocese falls into a heresy, and all the members of the respective Church subordinate to him, blindly accept such a heresy according to the principle of blind and mindless obedience to the hierarch, which is nothing other than the principle of blind and mindless preservation of the canonical system, bereft of any dogmatic foundation. This Canon actually helps prevent such a scenario from taking place and helps to preserve the Church from such a disaster. If we do not use the Canons in terms of their essence – and the essence of the Sacred Canons are the Sacred Dogmas – we are, by preserving only the superficial purpose of the same Canons, in danger of destroying their inner purpose and foundation, which are the Sacred Dogmas of our salvation. The current situation in the Serbian Orthodox Church led by Patriarch Irinej, who preaches the heresy of Ecumenism bareheaded (publicly), is the best example of a situation where the implementation of Canon XV is a necessity.

Therefore, in these dangerous times of ours, it is especially important to distinguish between true and false obedience. True obedience has its boundaries established by the Holy Fathers, who declared that we should be absolutely obedient only to the spiritual father who espouses the Orthodox Faith, and who is not a heretic. If a spiritual father, shepherd, or church leader falls into a heresy, we are obliged to disobey him, in order not to be caught up in such a heresy also. We are obliged to disobey such a spiritual father, because he himself is not obedient to the Holy Fathers in matters of Faith and Dogma. We should disobey and run away from him as if he were a snake, because for the Holy Fathers, heretics were worse than snakes, with regard to spiritual matters. Consequently, it is of the utmost importance to avoid such false obedience, because it serves as an excuse for staying obedient to church leaders even if they are not Orthodox. The very essence of such false obedience, the very essence of this compliance with betrayal and desecration of the Faith, consists of attachment to earthly goods and comforts. At the same time, it provides an excuse that serves to conceal the lack of zeal for defending the Faith. Many contemporary spiritual fathers, elders and clergymen have espoused such false obedience, during this period of general sorrow and grief in our Church.

Together with this question of obedience and disobedience, we have explained that there are two kinds of peace and unity in the Church. A true peace and unity based on the unity in the Faith and a false, superficial and illusory peace that lacks unanimity and unity in the Faith. Against such false peace which is a betrayal of the Orthodox Faith, Church and God, we must fight with all our might and by all the blessed means that God has given us. St. Maximus the Confessor inspiringly confirms this for us, in the extraordinary instruction that follows: By examining the reforms that have emerged in our time, we have concluded that they attained the utmost degree of evil. Be careful not to infect yourselves – for the sake of false peace – with this lawlessness, about which the Apostle said that it will be a token of the coming of Antichrist. Because, it is good to live peacefully with everyone if there is a unity in piety, but it is better to wage a war if a unity fosters evil! So, a false peace, without pious unity in the Faith, is only a compliance for evil’s sake and a token of the coming of Antichrist, according to St. Maximus the Confessor, who was an accomplished fighter for the purity of the Orthodox Faith.

Certainly, we should not lose sight of the fact that Canon XV of the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople is applicable exclusively under the circumstances clearly and elaborately described and foreseen by the Canon itself – that is to say, when a church leader (patriarch, bishop, priest) publicly preaches a heresy. As far as the Serbian Orthodox Church is concerned, Her leaders headed by Patriarch Irinej are Ecumenists in both word and in deed, and so we – as members of the Serbian Orthodox Church – are not only permitted to implement Canon XV of the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople, we are actually obliged to implement it, as something exceedingly necessary. We implement it precisely because this Sacred Canon is a canonical medicine in its own right, for healing the wound inlicted upon the Church of God by the heresy that we see in action today and feel before us within the Serbian Orthodox Church. At the same time, this Canon is a solution for all the problems arising from the chief problem of them all – and that is the unorthodox and heretical Ecumenist orientation of the highest echelons within the Serbian Orthodox Church. This Sacred Canon emerges from the entire profound and martyric experience of the Church, beginning with the Apostolic teaching and experience of the Church of the first centuries, and proceeding from the mouth of the Holy Apostles John and Paul while they were preaching to their flock: If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching (i.e. the true Christian teaching), do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work (2 John 10-11); Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned (Titus 3, 10-11). Such a strict sanction of non-acceptance, non-greeting and non-participation is prescribed against those who begin to wander in their confession of the Faith along the path of heresy, and who in the last phase of such wandering – in the words of St. Apostle John – become wicked. Bearing in mind the circumstances in which Serbian Orthodox Church finds Herself today, and if we wish to implement this sanction as foreseen by the Holy Apostles and Holy Fathers themselves, then it must implemented against Patriarch Irinej (and those bishops loyal to him), since without any hesitation whatsoever, he declares himself as being a practising Ecumenist. By lighting the Menorah candles in a Jewish synagogue, he went even further than the usual godless, common Ecumenistic prayers with Roman Catholics and other heretics. Because contempory Genevan Ecumenism (a unity of all “Christians“ in one new global “super-church“) is practiced by Patriarch Irinej and his obedient bishops – and because Ecumenism has been characterized and anathematised as a heresy by authentic and acknowledged Church authors steeped in the theological and Patristic tradition – there is no doubt that Patriarch Irinej has by his public announcements and actions, named and presented himself as a heretic in both word and in deed.[12] Since Ecumenism both generates and comprises within itself all the heresies that have been condemned and anathematized throughout history by the Church at both Ecumenical and Regional Council levels, it has been considered by many contemporary luminaries of the Church to be not only a heresy, but a Pan-Heresy. Accordingly, and in obedience to Canon XV of the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople, Ecumenism, must be regarded as a heresy condemned and anathematized as such by the Holy Fathers. It is likewise clear, that under the current difficult circumstances in which the Serbian Orthodox Church finds Herself traumatized by the heresy of Ecumenism, then the implementation of this Canon is most certainly permitted, foreseen and commanded by the Holy Apostles and Conciliar Fathers, who adopted it, and in so doing, established a fence for protecting the foundation of God’s Church, in which the pure and  unchangeable Orthodox Faith abides. The seriousness of the situation in which the Serbian Orthodox Church has found Herself, gave us the courage to conclude, in freedom and with a peaceful conscience, that the implementation of the aforementioned Canon XV, is in fact indispensable for all clergymen and laymen who do not want to participate in the terrible act of destruction unleashed upon the dogmatic structure of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the entire Church of God.

Severing Communion (liturgical and administrative ties) with the openly declared and committed Ecumenist Patriarch Irinej

In accordance with the aforementioned Canon XV of the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople, and given the present situation of our Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija in Exile, together with the unfortunate circumstances currently prevailing in the Serbian Orthodox Church, we have severed communion (liturgical and administrative ties), with Patriarch Irinej and all those bishops remaining loyal to him, who tacitly or explicitly support his heretical confession and correspondingly heretical conduct. Here however, we must necessarily stress the following point: that the Church cannot be defined according to human or mathematical logic, because this will lead us to the two dangerous extreme positions discussed further below. What is needed today, is deep discernment consistent with the essence and spirit of the whole Apostolic-Patristic Tradition that is in keeping with the essential purpose enshrined within the Sacred Dogmas and Canons of the Orthodox Church.

The first extreme position, is a lack of responsibility for the Deposit of the Orthodox Faith and the whole Patristic Tradition that we have received, together with an absolute indifference towards the heretical confession and conduct of the Patriarch and other Ecumenist bishops. Likewise, the maintaining of false obedience to the Patriarch and to these bishops for the sake of a false peace and illusory unity within the Church. This double line of false reasoning is mainly a result of a shallow and superficial ecclesial life, as well as attachment to earthly goods, lack of deep and genuine Orthodox piety, consciousness and conscience.

The second extreme position, is the claim that since the leaders of the regional Serbian Orthodox Church have deviated from the True Faith, then the whole of our Regional Church in Serbia has fallen into heresy, and therefore, every parish is heretical, every believer who worships at the temples where priests directly or indirectly commemorate Patriarch Irinej is in fact a heretic himself, and that even those believers who have never heard of Ecumenism are heretics also.

Both of these extremes lead us to deviation and the abyss. Instead, the Holy Fathers counsel us to take the Royal Middle Path, which is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, hence the difficulty of walking upon it. For this path is a stumbling block to those who cultivate only superficial ritual unity in the Church for the sake of earthly peace, and it is foolishness to those who want to cultivate zeal for the Faith based on their human logic and reason, rather than the commandments of the God-Man Jesus Christ. And, for this reason, we repeat the words of the Apostle Paul urging us that we have the mind of Christ (1. Cor 2,16).

This Royal Middle Path should be equated with the act of not commemorating Patriarch Irinej and his fellow Ecumenist bishops. Of course, we must sever all liturgical and administrative ties with them, but this is no reason for us to assert that because of a few Ecumenist bishops, the entire Serbian Orthodox Church has fallen into heresy and has thereby lost the Grace of the Holy Spirit. We should therefore not repudiate those people who continue to worship at the official temples of the Serbian Orthodox Church. These Church members may do so due to a lack of ecclesial life, or a lack of information and conscience about the corrosive danger of heresy or even because of their lack of zeal for confronting heresy. Whatever the case may be, only after ascertaining the reasons why they still go to such temples, should we then with discretion, warn them about what is actually going on, and thereby broaden their horizons on the Faith, so as to raise the level of their Orthodox conscience concerning the need to openly confront all false shepherds who dare to alter the Church’s Faith and Tradition. This must be done with solid arguments, personal pious example and prayers for such members of the Church. All other means are not suitable for true Orthodox fighters for the Faith, but are instead adopted by other more bitter and furious people, who use zeal for the preservation of the Faith as a pretext for giving vent to their passions of anger and wrath. Such people forget the Apostolic words that – human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires (James 1,20).

Of course, we as clergymen cannot participate in common prayers with those members of the Serbian Orthodox Church (and other Regional Churches affected by Ecumenism) who are clergy, because to them “ much has been given “ and consequently, much is demanded. That is to say, on the basis of Canon XV of the First-and-Second Council of Constantinople, we expect these clergymen to sever communion (liturgical and administrative ties) with Patriarch Irinej and other Ecumenist bishops, until they all repent of their heresy.

Canonical foundation and justification for the existence of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija in Exile beyond its borders

Our Diocese, headed by Bishop Artemije, was expelled from its canonical territory. However, we have standing together with us, a multitude of Faithful who are concerned for the preservation of the Faith in the Serbian Orthodox Church. Given that every square inch of land belongs to a canonical territory of some Diocese – whether in the Serbian Orthodox Church or some other Regional Church – a canonical problem of a kind emerges. However, this is only a formal problem of a juridical nature that arises only if we are to interpret the canons narrowly, without considering the broader, truer and more essential context of the Sacred Canons in relation to the troublesome circumstances the Serbian Orthodox Church now finds Herself in, afflicted as She is, by the heresy of Ecumenism. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (persecuted by the communist atheistic regime), also had to cope with such a canonical issue, at a time when Her enemies reprimanded Her for existing and functioning within the foreign canonical territories of other Dioceses. History shows us that the Russians outside of Russia – who are renowned for their attachment to Sacred Tradition – took no notice of such “arguments“ presented by their clerical prosecutors and persecutors, precisely because due to unavoidable circumstances, their actions were justified and endorsed by the Sacred Canons themselves.

First and foremost, (as mentioned previously), the implementation and  mandatory character of the Sacred Canons exists only under normal circumstances in the Church, while under extraordinary circumstances , canonical formalism actually leads to relativism in dogma , i.e. to the betrayal of the Faith. Secondly, we have already mentioned the similar experience of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), that had relied on Canon XXXIX of the Quinisext Ecumenical Council (691). This Canon is actually based upon Canon XXXVII of the same Council and specifies its implementation. It speaks about the Archbishop of Cyprus John, who – due to a barbaric Arab invasion at the end of the 7th century and with the support and help of the Emperor Justinian II (685-695) – was transferred together with the whole clergy and laymen from the island of Cyprus to the Hellespont in Asia Minor. Imbued with the Holy Spirit, the Conciliar Fathers decided that Archbishop John should retain all canonical rights together with his bishops and clergy in the area in which they took refuge, at their new Metropolitan See in Justinianoupolis. It was even decided that the local bishop of the area of Hellespont (whose Metropolitan See was in Cyzicus), must be obedient to Archbishop John and his clergy. In this way, the newly settled area was transferred from the Patriarchate of Constantinople and given to the Archbishopric of Cyprus, whose autocephaly had already been recognized by the Council of Ephesus (431). Once the danger had passed and following the return of the Archbishop of Cyprus and his flock to Cyprus, a metropolitan bishop in Cyzicus was once again appointed by the Patriarch of Constantinople.

This re-confirms what we have already stated here several times already, as being a general canonical principle familiar to the Holy Conciliar Fathers who have often applied it. Namely, that the Canons are supposed to be implemented in their totality only under normal circumstances in the Church, while under extraordinary ones, ecclesiastic ‘Economy’                    (or ‘Dispensation’)  is not only allowed, but – as can be seen in the aforementioned  example and in similar contexts – approved and implemented by one of the Ecumenical Councils. Patriarch Irinej and other Ecumenist bishops are fully aware about such precedents in Church history. Bishop Emeritus Atanasije Jevtić[13] points out that the Serbian Orthodox Church invoked this Canon when She was defending Herself against the Patriarchate of Constantinople, after having accepted in 1921 on Her territory, the ROCOR headed by Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky (1863-1936), and after having granted the right to the bishops of the ROCOR to freely work, assemble, hold services and guide their flock. Despite their acquaintance with this Canon and although they could refer to the immediate experience and implementation of this Canon in our own Regional Church, the Ecumenists headed by Patriarch Irinej, will not stop pretending that everything is perfect in the Serbian Orthodox Church (even in Kosovo and Metohija). Instead,  they choose to ignore this Canon and the attendant experience of the Serbian Patriarchate with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. They neglect this Canon and condemn us for holding church services beyond the canonical borders of our Diocese. However, they do so because here, the persecutors of Bishop Artemije and us his Flock, are precisely the Ecumenist bishops themselves, aided by the brutal assistance of contemporary Albanian terrorists. A very active participant in the persecution of Bishop Artemije, and characterized by particular malevolence, arrogance and hate speech incompatible with Christian spirituality, is the aforementioned Bishop Atanasije. While praising the hospitality shown to the persecuted Russians by the Serbian Orthodox Church in his interpretations of the aforementioned Canon XXXIX of the Quinisext Council, he makes no reference to the right of Bishop Artemije and his flock to implement the very same Canon, but instead, accuses Bishop Artemije of being a schismatic and sectarian. This demonstrates that – canonically speaking – the essential problem of the existence of the Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija in Exile, does not lie in the fact that due to persecution, this Diocese liturgically lives and functions beyond its canonical territory, i.e. within the canonical territories of other Dioceses, but in the fact that the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Irinej has abandoned the Orthodox Faith. Rather than being a good father and host in the spirit of his ecclesiastical rank, He himself, together with barbaric Albanian terrorists, persecutes Bishop Artemije and his Flock by brazenly declaring in an anti-Christian manner: What should be done eventually, must be done immediately. At any rate, it is illogical and unrealistic to expect a persecutor to accept and canonically recognize those who are being uncanonically persecuted by him. Therefore, in the absence of an Orthodox Patriarch, the authority by whose blessing our Diocese exists and functions beyond its own canonical territory, is granted to us by the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils that were convened for the primary purpose of  preserving the Orthodox Faith. Their Patristic blessings upon the mutual goals we share with these Conciliar Fathers, confer a canonically judicial legitimacy to the current mode of existence and functioning of our Diocese. Consequently, since the goal determining the entire struggle of Bishop Artemije and his Flock is the preservation of the Sacred Orthodox Dogmas and by association, the Canonical System and the Serbian Orthodox Church founded upon them – and since we cannot expect to receive blessings for holding church services and existing beyond the canonical borders of our Diocese from the unorthodox Patriarch Irinej who has expelled us – we have been pastorally bound to consider these factors as well as the externally imposed, unnatural and extraordinary conditions in which our Church now finds Herself, and we have accordingly concluded, that the Diocese of Raška-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija in Exile – by God’s blessing – extends to every place where Diocesan clergy and laity who confess and fight for the preservation of the Orthodox Faith are present.

The goal of preserving the Sacred Orthodox Dogmas, Canons and everything else that the Holy Fathers have defined as being the Sacred Tradition of the Orthodox Church, lies in the preservation of the Orthodox Faith as the ideological, philosophical and dogmatic foundation and essence of the very Church of God. Only the preservation of the unadulterated Faith of the Church of God, enables Her to fulfill Her primary Christological mission – namely, to establish communion between God and humankind within Herself,  so as to ensure the salvation and theosis of all. By remaining faithful to this goal of preserving the purity of the Church’s Faith, we remain faithul to Christ Himself and to the Church which is His very Body.

In Belgrade, 13.11.2014.

 

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[1] Taken from the journal Свети Кнез Лазар, n. 16(82), 2014, р. 39.

[2] Преподобни Јустин Ћелијски, Догматика Православне цркве, Београд, 1978, pp. 10.

[3] Преподобни Јустин Ћелијски, Житија светих за фебруар, Београд, 1973, pp. 86-115.

[4] Живот и подвиг преподобног Максима Исповедника, РС 90, 93Б.

[5] Преподобни Јустин Ћелијски, Житија светих за фебруар, Београд, 1973, pp. 86-115.

[6] Свети Кнез Лазар – званично гласило Епархије рашко-призренске и косовско-метохијске у егзилу, n. 14-15, 2014, p. 100.

[7] This Holy Father presided over the Council of Constantinople (879-880), in which the heretical Roman Catholic addition of the “Filioque“ was condemned. A universally recognized and renowned canonologist, Bishop Nikodim Milaš, argued that this Council should be treated as Ecumenical by its nature, because it dealt with matters of the Faith and not just Church discipline. In support of this argument, he refers to the fact that by its very Conciliar Acts, this Council should be considered as being Ecumenical. It is interesting that several hundred years after this Council, the Canon Law literature of the West defined this Council as being an Ecumenical one. This important fact alone, dispels the malicious claims of Ecumenist theologians, according to whom the heresy of Roman Catholicism was never officially condemned by any of the Councils. In fact, it was condemned at this Council of Constantinople (879-880), which was also considered as being the Eighth Ecumenical Council by the aforementioned great authoritative writer of Canon Law among canonologists, the Bishop Nikodim Milaš.

[8] The interpretation of this Canon by Bishop Nikodim Milaš: “’… if a bishop, metropolitan or patriarch starts to publicly preach a heresy in the Church contrary to the Orthodoxy, then subordinate bishops and clerics have a right and duty to immediately separate themselves from such a bishop, metropolitan and patriarch, and because of this, they will not undergo punishment, but they will be lauded not for opposing legitimate bishops, but for opposing false bishops and teachers. And for not making a schism in the Church, but, on the contrary, for liberating the Church as much as possible from schisms and divisions.“ – See more: Никодим Милаш, Правила Православне цркве са тумачењима, Book 2, Нови Сад, 1896, p. 290.

[9] Преподобни Јустин Ћелијски, op. cit., pp. 86-115.

[10] Свети Кнез Лазар, op. cit., p. 104.

[11] Преподобни Јустин Ћелијски, op. cit., pp. 86-115.

[12] Patriarch Irinej had openly started to express his Ecumenist positions already as Bishop of Niš, just before his appointment to the Patriarchal post and under dubious circumstances involving meddling by the previous “democratic“ regime of Boris Tadić. This new orientation of his did not happen by chance – because until that moment, he falsely represented himself as an opponent of reform and renovationism in the Church. It happened with the intention of gaining the sympathies of globalist political circles and Ecumenist dignitaries of the Church in Serbia and abroad.Clearly, his disingenious and sudden, pitifully inarticulate and contrived Ecumenist re-orientation, was based mainly upon his shameful – and for the Serbian people painful – invitation to the heretical Pope of Rome for visiting Serbia. Following the Patriarchal Elections in 2010, he confirmed his Ecumenist positions in an interview with the following sentence: I am an Ecumenist and a pacifist. These words have never been denied by him, neither orally nor in written form. During the Summer of 2010, he progressed even further in his lamentable Patriarchal ministry by participating in a Roman Catholic procession in Vienna, and shortly after that, senselessly and with neither ecclesial consciousness nor conscience, he lit the Menorah candles in the Jewish synagogue of Belgrade. These few injudicious misdeeds and statements alone, have rendered Patriarch Irinej unworthy of his rank and all that it signifies. Even if we wanted to write about the other publically heretical and Ecumenist actions of this man, we would not have enough time. In any case – and as foreseen by the Sacred Canons – all of the aforementioned provide more than enough justification for us to sever liturgical and administrative ties with such an irresponsible, unorthodox and false shepherd.

[13] See: Свештени канони Цркве, превод са грчког (и коментари) умировљени еп. Атанасије бивши херцеговачки, Београд, 2005, pp. 162.