June 24, 2013

Holy Fathers on the Name of God: St. Irenaeus of Lyons

“But ye have been washed, but ye have been sanctified, but ye have been justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God."(1 Cor. 6:11) He [the Apostle] shows in the clearest manner through what things it is that man goes to destruction, if he has continued to live after the flesh; and then, on the other hand, [he points out] through what things he is saved. Now he says that the things which save are the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.

Against Heresies, Book 5, 11, 1.
(Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1 , Philip Schaff Ed.)

June 12, 2013

Holy Fathers on the Name of God: St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

Let us remember that at God’s Judgement, we will be required to give account for every idle word. So the more fearful is to give account for the words spoken against the fundamental dogma of the Christian Faith. The teaching concerning the Divine Power of the Name of Jesus, is a fundamental dogma [of our Faith] and is numbered among its holy dogmas. Disdainful, blasphemous opinions against the Prayer of Jesus have all the symptoms of a heretical thinking.

On Prayer of Jesus, Conversation of an Elder with his Disciple,
Ascetical Experiences, Vol. II (Russian ed. Jordanville, 1985)

June 4, 2013

A Reply to the Errors of Bishop Photios of Marathon and Fr. Panagiotis Carras

By Nikolai Stromsky

Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple,
November 21 / December 4, 2011
The Divine Name controversy involved deeply complex theological issues that have as of yet not been fully resolved in conciliar manner by the Orthodox Church. It has been the subject of a small but expanding library of books and articles written by theologians, historians, and churchmen in a variety of languages and from a variety of perspectives. It is a topic about which reasonable people can disagree, inasmuch as the Church has not yet definitely resolved the issue.
What is unacceptable, however, is for people with no knowledge of either the theological complexities involved or the language in which the controversy was conducted, and with no familiarity with either the historical context or the primary sources, unilaterally to declare it a “condemned heresy” and “superstition” (in Bishop Photios' words) purely for reasons of jurisdictional rivalry (hence Bishop Photios' reference to “the parasynagogues of the deposed or un-ordained [sic]” and Fr. Panagiotis' explicit reference to Bishop Gregory of Petrograd and Gdonsk). This is all the more the case when such people display their ignorance by making a series of egregious factual mistakes.
The following is a list of factual errors made by Bishop Photios of Marathon and Fr. Panagiotis Carras with a brief response to each.

1. The “heresy” of name-glorifying was neither “lit” (Bishop Photios) nor “begun” (Fr. Panagiotis) by Schema-monk Ilarion, author of In the Mountains of the Caucasus. This book was originally blessed for publication in 1907, republished in 1910 with funds provided by the New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna; and printed a third time in an enormous print run by the Kiev-Caves in 1912. All were printed with full ecclesiastical sanction. Nowhere, contrary to what Fr. Panagiotes writes, does Fr. Ilarion make the explicit claim that the “name of God is God Himself.”
2. Fr. Panagiotes writes concerning the name-glorifiers: “Many of them argued that, since according to the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, the name of an object exists before the object itself does, so the name of God must pre-exist before the world was created, and that it (the Name) cannot be anything but God Himself. Among other things, this was thought to mean that knowledge of the secret name of God alone allows one to perform miracles. A similar concept exists in Jewish Kabbalah and in Buddhism.” This is false from beginning to end. Who are the “many” that argued such evident nonsense? Can Fr. Panagiotis name a single name-glorifier who cited Plato? Where is the evidence that the name-glorifiers taught that God had a “secret name”? What is Fr. Panagiotis source for this information? Has he read any of the works of Fr. Anthony (Bulatovich)? In fact, the answer is quite clear: he copied and pasted this nonsense and slander verbatim from Wikipedia, hardly a reliable source for theological discussion.1