The Kelliotes Letter to the Sacred Twenty Athonite Monasteries

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R.V. Gronoff

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Sep 1, 2007, 6:10:11 AM9/1/07
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An Open Letter to the Holy Abbots and the Holy Representatives of the
Sacred Twenty Monasteries in the Holy Community of the Holy Mount Athos
(2006)

This letter is of great importance to the Church of Christ in these
terribly difficult times. With the letter the Athonites are informing us
that the time has come to openly confess our faith in defense of the
Doctrine concerning The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. All
Orthodox Christians are responsible for the preservation and spread of
Holy Orthodoxy.

THE TWENTY RULING MONASTERIES of Mount Athos are, in order of
precedence, Great Lavra (the oldest foundation), then Vatopedi, Iviron,
Dionysiou, Pantokatoros, Zographos, Karakallou, Simonos Petras,
Stavronikitas, Gregoriou, Penteleimonos, Hilandar, Koutloumousiou,
Xeropotamou, Dochiariou, Philotheou, Agiou Pavlou, Xenophontos,
Esphigmenou, Kostamonitou. Each is a self-governing coenobium, owing
allegiance to no ecclesiastical authority. Even the jurisdiction of the
Oecumenical Patriarch is restricted to matters of spirituality. Of the
twenty ruling monasteries, seventeen are Greek, one Serbian, one
Russian, and one Bulgarian. Between them they rule the Mountain through
a body called the Sacred Community.

THE SACRED COMMUNITY is the legislative body of the Holy Mountain and is
comprised of representatives and the superiors of the Holy Mountain's
twenty ruling monasteries. The Sacred Community convenes in the Karyes
and is presided over by the Protos.

KELLIOTES are those monastics who, rather than living in one of the
larger monastic communities (such as a monastery or skete), are blessed
to work out their salvation in small "families" of monastics inhabiting
an isolated house called a kelli. Each kelli is a dependencies of one of
the twenty ruling monasteries.
+ + +

December 2006

Holy Abbots and Holy Fathers,

Bless!

We desire with this present letter to express our deepest concern and
sadness for all that is happening to our Holy Orthodoxy for years now:
things destructive to the teaching of the Holy Apostles and of the Holy
Fathers and contrary to all the Sacred Canons enacted by the Oecumenical
and local synods. We wonder if some Oecumenical synod has been assembled
and has abolished the Canons which forbid joint prayer with heretics,
[1] or if the Pope has repented and renounced the heresies of the
Filioque, of primacy, of infallibility, of unleavened bread, of the
purifying fire [purgatory—trans.], of created grace, of the immaculate
conception of the Most Holy Theotokos, and many others, most of which
have been condemned and anathematized repeatedly by Orthodox synods and
by the entirety of the Holy Fathers. [2]

Heaven was angered and the Holy Fathers exceedingly saddened by seeing
and hearing all that took place at the Phanar at the feast of the Holy
Apostle Andrew on the 30th of November of the current year—unprecedented
and unheard of things in the two thousand year history of the Church:
“The dogmas of the Fathers are held in contempt, the Apostolic
traditions are disdained, the churches are subject to the novelties of
innovators,” [3] as St. Basil the Great says, regarding the events of
his own times.

Everything happened literally upside-down. Instead of the heretical Pope
being placed below, as we see the heretics depicted in the icons of the
Holy Synods, and being dismissed from the Divine Liturgy, on the basis
of the liturgical command, “the doors, the doors, in wisdom let us
attend,” we elevated him to a high throne, where he sat wearing an
omophorion; the Orthodox deacons censed him; the Patriarch exchanged the
kiss [of peace] with him at “let us love one another;” as the proestos
[the one presiding—trans.] he proclaimed the “Our Father;” the choir of
sacred cantors chanted “Many Years” to him, as well as a specially
composed troparion from an Athonite hymnographer—Lord, have mercy!—if,
of course, the news reports are true; he was [also] permitted to give
the congregation his blessing [evlogia], or, rather, his folly [alogia]
according to the Sacred Canons. [4]

We allowed the Church militant on earth to be divided from the Church
triumphant of the Saints in heaven, and to be united with churches and
assemblies of the cunning heretics.We insulted all of the holy Martyrs
and Confessors who struggled to the point of blood against the heresies,
because we presented their struggles, their martyrdoms and their
confessions as to no avail and unnecessary. Will not the blessed
Hagiorite Fathers martyred under [Oecumenical Patriarch John] Vekkou,
who refused to accept and to commemorate the Pope, lament, seeing that
not only do we reject their example by our silence, but actually do the
opposite? Why then did these and all of the previous Martyrs undergo
martyrdom, and why did the Confessors stand fast in their profession of
the Faith?

You know, Reverend Fathers, better than we do, the anti-Orthodox and
blasphemous actions, declarations, and decisions of the Oecumenical
Patriarch, and of the other Primates and Bishops who vociferously and
visibly advocate—bare-headed [5]—the acceptance and teaching of the
chief heresy of Ecumenism, the greatest ecclesiological heresy of all
the ages. This heretical teaching disavows the uniqueness of the One,
Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and equates it with the heresies,
by accepting their sacraments as having and imparting sanctifying and
saving grace. Besides recognition of the baptism of the followers of the
Pope and of the Lutherans, we also have participation in the chalice
with Monophysites, and in many cases with Papists in the Cyclades and in
the Diaspora.

We take stock with much greater sadness that over the last few years the
spiritual leadership of the Holy Mountain has not confronted these
manifestations of apostasy with fortitude and the courage of confession,
as did earlier Athonite Fathers. The Patriarch has gauged our responses,
and because they are half-hearted, and many times non-existent, he
proceeds without hindrance toward union with an unrepentant Pope, who
remains enmeshed in heresies. He evaluated us and rejoiced greatly
during his last visit to the Holy Mountain, as well, such that one would
say that he came in order to take the consent and blessing of the
Athonites for all that he had planned to do with the Pope a few days later.

We, lowly hieromonks and monks, confess to you that we have been
scandalized by the silence and inaction of our spiritual leaders on
Mount Athos, and together with us, the entire assembly of
monastic-loving Orthodox Christians, both in Greece and throughout the
world. They are all waiting to hear the voice of Mount Athos.

From you, the wiser and more erudite, we learned that when the Faith is
endangered we are all held accountable if we are silent and shrink back,
as St. Theodore the Studite says. [6] A monk, in particular, must not
allow the slightest innovation in matters of the Faith, according to the
[aforementioned] Holy Father and great monastic leader, organizer of
monastic life, and the Elder of us all. [7] He did not fear the threats
and the persecutions of the iconoclast emperors and patriarchs, but
within Constantinople, within the enclosure of the Great Sacred
Monastery of Stoudion, he organized a procession with a thousand
torch-bearing monks, who held the forbidden Holy Icons in their hands.

Saints Sabbas the Sanctified and Theodosios the Cenobite, likewise great
monastic leaders, assembled ten thousand monks of Palestine long before
in Jerusalem, and saved Orthodoxy from the heresy of Monothelitism.

Who will now save the Church from the most terrible heresy of Ecumenism
and the deceit of Papism? The letters of protest, which the Holy
Community [of Mount Athos] has sent at various times to the Oecumenical
Patriarch, have not had any effect. It is no longer time for words, but
for actions. We do not want to teach you, we the unlearned and wretched
sinners, neither do we want to have ourselves appear as Confessors.
Rather, we want to set at ease our monastic and Orthodox conscience; we
want to honor and follow the conduct of the Holy Martyrs and Confessors,
particularly those martyred under Vekkou. We do not want to shrink back,
nor to place the monasteries and our brotherhoods above the purity of
the Faith, above God and the Truth. [8]

We believe that after so many written and oral protests and objections,
back-peddling [i.e., going back on one’s word—trans.], retreats and
compromises, the only thing that will gladden the Orthodox and shame the
kakodox is to cease commemoration of the patriarch and of all the
bishops agreeing with him or remaining in silence.

Gather together, Holy Fathers, the monks of the coenobium, the sketes
and the kellia into an all-monastic, fighting assembly—either within or
outside of the Holy Mountain—and topple the towers of heresy, of Papism
and of Ecumenism. Take up the good fight of the Faith. If you fail to
act, we will prefer to do that which is God-pleasing, not man-appeasing.

May God enlighten all of us; may the Most Holy Theotokos shelter and
bless her Garden; and may They protect the Orthodox Church from defamers
of the Theotokos, and from heretics who fight against the Saints, as
well as from faint-hearted pastors who leave the flock unprotected from
attacks of the wolves. [9]

Asking your prayers for all the foregoing, we, the undersigned, remain
respectfully yours,

Hieromonk Ephraim, former abbot [of Philotheou], Elder of the Skete of
Apostle Andrew [“Serrai”, of the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi] and the
brotherhood with me.
Elder Eustratios, Hieromonk, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Poimen, Hieromonk, Holy Monastery of Zographou
Elder Basileios, Hieromonk, Holy Monastery of Zographou
Elder Bessarion, Hieromonk, Holy Monastery of Zographou
Monk Nikodemos (Bilalis), Sacred Cell "of the Presentation" from Kapsala
Monk Artemios, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Priestmonk Hilarion, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Monk Paisios, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Monk Savvas, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Hierodeacon Chariton, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Monk Chariton, Karoulia, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Monk Athanasios, Karoulia, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Vlasios, Monk, Kserokalyvo Viglas, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Monk Akakios, Sacred Kathisma of the Holy Trinity (Kyr Isaiah) Holy
Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Isaiah, Monk, Kellion of the Birth of the Mother of God, Holy
Monastery of the Great Lavra
Monk Cherubim, Sacred place of the Archangels, Holy Monastery of the
Great Lavra
Hieromonk Damaskinos, Kellion of Holy Trinity at Karyes, Holy Monastery
of the Great Lavra
Elder Nektarios, Monk, Kellion of Holy Trinity at Karyes, Holy Monastery
of the Great Lavra
Elder Theoklitos, Monk and the fathers with him; Kellion of the Sacred
Forerunner,St.Anne's Skete, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Hieromonk Gabriel, Sacred Kellion of St. George(Kartsounaion) Sacred
Skete of St. Anne, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Hieromonk Chrysostomos Kartsonas, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Kosmas Monk,Sacred Hut of St. Demetrios, Skete of Saint Anne, Holy
Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Panteleimon, Monk, Sacred Kellion of St. Panteleimon, Sacred Skete
of Holy Trinity, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Sophronios, Monk, Sacred Hut of Entrance of the Theotokos, Sacred
Skete of Holy Trinity, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Monk Parthenios, Sacred Hut Entrance of Theotokos, Sacred Skete of Holy
Trinity, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Monk Athanasios at Vouleutiria, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Serapheim, Hieromonk, Kellion of All Saints, Skete of Saint Anne,
Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Daniel, Monk, Saint Anne's, Holy Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Gerasimos, Monk Sacred Hut of St. George, Katounakia, Holy
Monastery of the Great Lavra
Elder Benediktos, Hieromonk, Kellion of Ss Konstantine and Eleni, Holy
Monastery of Vatopedi
Monk Paisios, Kellion of Archangels (Savvaion) Karyes, Holy Monastery of
Hilandar
Monk Silouanos, Sacred Hut of St. Nicholas, Nea Skete, Holy Monastery of
St. Paul
Monk Gabriel, Kellion of Koutloumousiou of Saint Christodoulos
Monk Dositheos, Koutloumousiou Monastery Kathisma
Elder Nektarios, Monk, Sacred Hut of Holy Trinity, Skete of the Holy
Monastery of Koutloumousiou
Monk Paisios, Kellion of Saint Barbara, Holy Monastery of Koutloumousiou
Elder Moses, Monk, Kellion St. John Chrysostomos, Skete of St.
Panteleimonos, Holy Monastery of Koutloumousiou
Elder Abraaham, Hieromonk, Sacred Hut of St Gerasimos Kefalinias, Skete
of St. Panteleimonos, Holy Monastery of Koutloumousiou
Elder Spyridon, Monk, Kellion of St. Nicholas, Holy Monastery of
Koutloumousiou
Monk Theodoulos, formerly of the Holy Monastery of Koutloumousiou
Elder Chrysostom, Hieromonk, Kellion of St. Spyridon of Kerkyra, Holy
Monastery of Koutloumousiou
Monk Hilarion, Sacred Kathisma of the Holy Monastery of Doheiariou
(Platon area)
Elder Nikodemos, Monk, Kellion of St. Nektarios Kapsala, Holy Monastery
of Pantokratoros
Hieromonk Gabriel, Kellion of Quick to Hear Mother of God, Holy
Monastery of Pantokratoros
Monk Isaac, Kellion of Birth of Mother of God, Kapsala, Holy Monastery
of Pantokratoros
Elder Athanasios, Monk, Kellion of St . Athanasios, Holy Monastery of
Pantokratoros
Elder Meletios, Monk, Birth of Theotokos, Kapsala, Holy Monastery of
Pantokratoros
Elder Gregory, Monk Kellion of St. Nicholas, Kapsala, Holy Monastery of
Pantokratoros
Elder Onoufrios, Monk, Kellion Dormition of Theotokos, Karyes
Elder Nicholas, Monk, Kellion of St. Demetrios, Karyes
Hieromonk Gabriel, Kellion of Holy Archangels (Kombologas) Karyes
The collection of names continues.
Endnotes

1.

See, as examples, Canon XLV (45) of the Holy Apostles: “Let any
Bishop, of Presbyter, or Deacon that merely joins in prayer with
heretics be suspended, but if he has permitted them to perform any
service as Clergymen, let him be deposed [from office].” And, Canon VI
(6) of the Synod of Laodicea: “Concerning the necessity of not
permitting heretics to come into the house of God, so long as they
persist in their heresy.”

Webmaster Note:See also this collection of Canons related to
ecumenism.
2. See, among many others: Saint Meletios of Galisiotou, Third
Oration, Against the Latins, in V. Laurent-L. Darryzes, Dossier Grex de
l’ Union de Lyon (1272-1277) Paris 1976, page 554:

“The Latins have erred greatly and many times
the whole choir of Fathers do condemn them,
he who communes with the Latins is grouped
with heretics and separated from Christ and the Saints.”

Saint Mark of Ephesus, Encyclical Letter, in I. Karamiri, The
Dogmatic and Symbolic Books [In Greek], Vol. 1, pg. 425: “We have turned
away from them as from heretics and for this reason we have separated
from them. For what else? The rules of piety are clear: he who even in
the slightest deviates from right faith is a heretic and subject to the
laws set against heretics …Thus, they are heretics and as heretics we
cut them off.”

The Synod in Constantinople of 1848: “The Lord has seen fit to
allow for heresies to spread to the greater part of the inhabited world,
as with Arianism at one time, so, too, today with Papism.”

Webmaster Note:See also the Patriarchal Encyclicals of 1848 and 1895.
3. Letter 90, To the Most Holy Brethren and Bishops found in the
West, 2, PG 32, 473 [In Greek].
4. Canon XXXII (32) of Synod of Laodicea: “That one must not accept
blessings of heretics, which are rather folly [also could be translated
as ‘to one’s ruin’] rather than blessings.”
5. See Canon 15 of the 1st-2nd Synod in Constantinople (861).
6. Letter 71, to Pantoleonti Logotheti, PG 99, 1321: “The
Commandment of the Lord is not to remain silent in times when the faith
is in danger. ‘Speak, he said, and do not remain silent.’” And, “if any
man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Heb. 10:38).And,
“if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out”
(Lk. 19:40). Thus, when it is a matter of faith, one should not say:
‘Who am I, a priest or a leader of the people?’ In no case should one
remain silent.”
7. Letter 79, to Abbot Theophilos, PG 99, 1049. “If there are any
monks in our day, they will be proved by their works. The work of a monk
is to not tolerate any innovations whatsoever as pertains to the Gospel,
that they not become examples to laymen as proposing heresy and
communion with heretics, for they will give account for their [the
laity’s] loss [of salvation].”
8. Theodore Studite, To Monastics, PG 99, 1120. “Do we prefer the
monasteries more than God and happiness here more than hardship for the
sake of the good? Where is, “I will speak of thy testimonies also before
kings, and will not be ashamed”? Where is, “Lo, I have not refrained my
lips, O LORD, thou knowest”? Where are the glory and the power of our
monastic order? Do you recall how the Blessed Sabbas and Theodosios,
when Anastasios the impious emperor decided to turn against the
Orthodox, rose up fervently fighting for the faith, on the one hand
anathematizing the kakodox in the Church, on the other hand, with the
letters they wrote saying to the king that they prefer death rather than
to change that which they had received?”
9. Jn. 10: 11-12: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth
his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the
shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and
leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and
scattereth the sheep.”

Alexander Arnakis

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Sep 1, 2007, 3:28:14 PM9/1/07
to
On Sat, 01 Sep 2007 12:10:11 +0200, "R.V. Gronoff"
<regis....@ahmadinejadifrance.com> wrote:

>An Open Letter to the Holy Abbots and the Holy Representatives of the
>Sacred Twenty Monasteries in the Holy Community of the Holy Mount Athos
>(2006)
>

><snipped>

The Athonites should stick to their own spiritual struggles, and stay
out of Church politics. Church politics are not in their "job
description." Hierarchs are elected to take care of the political
aspects.

jmd

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Sep 2, 2007, 2:59:38 AM9/2/07
to

they are not elected at all

today, they make their choice in their tiny group, just like the president of State of
Vatican's pseudo election

that's why things go so wrong, we do imitate the world!!

have a nice Sunday

Jean-Michel, very happy and blessing these Athonites monks!

Alexander Arnakis

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Sep 2, 2007, 4:07:42 PM9/2/07
to
On Sun, 2 Sep 2007 08:59:38 +0200, jmd
<enlevezcec...@etcela.gmail.com> wrote:
>
>they are not elected at all
>
"Elected," in this sense, means chosen by their fellow hierarchs. The
point being that in the Orthodox Church, it's the hierarchs that have
the responsibility for things like ecumenical negotiations, not the
monks or laymen.

Dan

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Sep 3, 2007, 2:18:28 PM9/3/07
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On Sep 1, 3:28 pm, Alexander Arnakis <inva...@address.none> wrote:
> On Sat, 01 Sep 2007 12:10:11 +0200, "R.V. Gronoff"
>
> <regis.gron...@ahmadinejadifrance.com> wrote:
> >An Open Letter to the Holy Abbots and the Holy Representatives of the
> >Sacred Twenty Monasteries in the Holy Community of the Holy Mount Athos
> >(2006)
>
> ><snipped>
>
> The Athonites should stick to their own spiritual struggles, and stay
> out of Church politics. Church politics are not in their "job
> description." Hierarchs are elected to take care of the political
> aspects.

Irritating as it can be, this is part of the process of adaptation to
changing circumstances; there has always been this kind of heated
disagreement within the Church during times of transition.

We must simply hope that the strugglers on the Holy Mountain don't
step over the line that separates "loyal opposition" from schism.

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