Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Thus, the Holy Scriptures speak to us (Isa. 5: 20). Woe to those pastors of the Orthodox Church, who teach the opposite of Christ's commandments, and the patristic teaching. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Archbishop Elpidophoros is doing, and with much more audacity.
In particular, His Eminence, Kyr Elpidophoros declared:
“The heretics are not the papists, the Anglicans, the Protestants, etc. They were born that way, and we have to accept them as they are. The heretics are the belligerent and quarrelsome, who don’t accept our Christian brothers.”
His Eminence is preaching this idea to us, and many more things like it. And so, according to the doctrine of Elpidophoros, all the Saints of the Orthodox Church, who fought against heresies, are now apparently considered to be “troublemakers”.
Were the Holy Apostles, who were fighting against all kinds of idolatry and heresy, “belligerent”? Was the apostle Paul “belligerent”, who called the heretics “grievous wolves”? Were the great Holy Fathers who fought relentlessly against the heresy of Arius, “bruisers”? Were our saints who resisted the wicked iconoclasts “pugnacious”?
Were the saints being belligerent when they fought against the heretic Nestorius and his kind, who insulted our Most Holy Theotokos? Are great saints like Patriarch Photios, Gregory of Palamas, and Mark of Ephesus quarrelsome for Elpidophoros?
Let us therefore allow His Eminence to answer, whether or not he considers the Saints we mentioned as being troublemakers. If he confesses that our saints who fought against heresy are not quarrelsome, then it follows that we who refuse to recognize heretics certainly cannot be troublemakers.
But if His Eminence professes that the saints we mentioned above were quarrelsome, then we too are quarrelsome, since we preach the teaching of these saints against every sect. And if—may it not be!—His Eminence does so profess, then he requires many a tearful intercession from the saints to recover from this devastating perversion.
Indeed, His Eminence also visited the great Elder Ephraim (now reposed) in Arizona, an ascetic of piety and a preacher of the Orthodox faith. This holy elder not only accomplished many ascetical feats, but also in everything else he was an opponent of ecumenism. And this means that he was both an adversary of His Eminence Elpidophoros and a "troublemaker"! And yet the Most Reverend Archbishop had the courage, or, more precisely, the boldness, to visit such an anti-ecumenist and “troublemaker”.
We ourselves are unable to interpret this diplomatic move, and would like to have it answered ourselves. Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.
Was not the same thing happening, with our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the scribes and Pharisees accused of “deceiving the people” and being some kind of “troublemaker”? Then what do we expect, when the Lord Himself tells us: Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also (John 15:20)
No, my dears, have no illusions that for those of us who believe in Christ, our path will be paved with roses. No, it will not be that way, but our life will be just like that of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let those who will understand, understand.