Schismatics and those who pray with them will not be saved—Elder Gabriel of Mt. Athos, disciple of St. Paisios

Mt. Athos, April 6, 2021

Photo: Photo:     

The clergy of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) are fake blasphemers, and they and those who have Eucharistic and prayerful communion with them will not be saved, says Elder Gabriel of the Kelli of St. Christodoulos of Koutloumousiou Monastery.

Fr. Gabriel is a disciple of the great St. Paisios and one of the most revered elders on the Holy Mountain today.

He gave an interview to the journalist Sotirios Letzio on Saturday, posted on the YouTube channel Aikaterini Anagnostopoulou.

The “priests” of the OCU are sacrilegious, and “many hierarchs pray and concelebrate with heretics,” the Elder said.

“The Ukrainian schismatics are not priests, they are blasphemers. They are heretics and schismatics, non-ordained and ‘self-ordained.’ If they don’t repent, they won’t be saved, and those who have Eucharistic communion with them and concelebrate with them also won’t be able to inherit salvation,” Elder Gabriel stressed.

He made the same affirmation in an open letter to the Sacred Community of Mt. Athos in October: “The schismatics of Ukraine will not be saved; they will go to hell. The monasteries (Athonite or not) that accept them, cooperate with them, pray with them, and commune with them, will also not be saved and will also go to hell.”

As the disciple of St. Paisios explained, this is not his opinion, but the official teaching of the holy Orthodox Church. He cites Apostolic Canon 45: “Let a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, who has only prayed with heretics, be excommunicated: but if he has permitted them to perform any clerical office, let him be deposed”; and Canon 2 of the Council of Antioch: “And, if any one of the bishops, presbyters, or deacons, or any one in the Canon shall be found communicating with excommunicated persons, let him also be excommunicated, as one who brings confusion on the order of the Church.”

Both canons are among those ratified by the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils.

An excommunicated man is one “who is outside the Church and will not be saved,” the Elder explained.

In his view, “one of the reasons why the Greek people suffer is that we don’t keep the Orthodox faith pure, and our bishops, who pray and concelebrate with heretics and schismatics, behave like traitors. This will lead the Greek people to disaster.”

Moreover, there are hierarchs who not only support ecumenism, but who also persecute those who oppose it, Elder Gabriel said.

In his open letter from October, the Elder also called on Mt. Athos itself to wake up and stop following anti-Orthodox agendas.

In 2019, Elder Gabriel was among the 12 Athonite elders who addressed the Sacred Community in defense of the canonical Ukrainian Church, decrying Patriarch Bartholomew’s lack of respect for the canons. He spoke about the situation with the schismatics again in an interview last year. The respected Elder said he believes that natural disasters that struck the Holy Mountain earlier in the year were Divine punishment for the monasteries that have served and prayed with the schismatics.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, Parler, MeWe, and Gab!


See also
New Book: Cypriot hierarch’s examination of Ukrainian crisis to be published in English New Book: Cypriot hierarch’s examination of Ukrainian crisis to be published in English New Book: Cypriot hierarch’s examination of Ukrainian crisis to be published in English New Book: Cypriot hierarch’s examination of Ukrainian crisis to be published in English
It is essential reading for all Orthodox believers who want to more fully grasp what the Ukrainian ecclesial crisis means for the future of their Church.
Elder Gabriel, disciple of St. Paisos: Mt. Athos needs to wake up, stop obeying anti-Orthodox agendas Elder Gabriel, disciple of St. Paisos: Mt. Athos needs to wake up, stop obeying anti-Orthodox agendas Elder Gabriel, disciple of St. Paisos: Mt. Athos needs to wake up, stop obeying anti-Orthodox agendas Elder Gabriel, disciple of St. Paisos: Mt. Athos needs to wake up, stop obeying anti-Orthodox agendas
Holy Mount Athos, the cradle of Orthodoxy that has produced countless ascetic saints, is changing in many ways today, leading away from holy Orthodoxy as it more and more obeys anti-Orthodox orders from outside, believes Elder Gabriel of the Kelli of St. Christodoulos of Koutloumousiou Monastery.
“Patriarch Bartholomew does not respect the sacred canons”: 12 Athonite elders address the Sacred Community in defense of the canonical Ukrainian Church “Patriarch Bartholomew does not respect the sacred canons”: 12 Athonite elders address the Sacred Community in defense of the canonical Ukrainian Church “Patriarch Bartholomew does not respect the sacred canons”: 12 Athonite elders address the Sacred Community in defense of the canonical Ukrainian Church “Patriarch Bartholomew does not respect the sacred canons”: 12 Athonite elders address the Sacred Community in defense of the canonical Ukrainian Church
“With great sorrow and concern we learn about what is happening in the Orthodox Church as a whole because of the non-canonical granting of autocephaly to the schismatics of Ukraine without the consent of the canonical autonomous Church headed by Metropolitan Onuphry, which continues to consider the new autocephalites as schismatics, having no communion with them and, on the basis of the sacred canons, with all of those who have communion with the schismatics,” the letter opens.
Theophan4/24/2021 11:16 pm
To Juan, below: Thank you for these quotes. I'm very interested in reading the works of St. Seraphim Sarobev. Can you provide the book or article title from which you quoted?
Daniel Smith4/22/2021 3:54 am
A strong condemnation of the GOAA! Finally.
sherlock_holmes4/8/2021 7:41 pm
Recognizing the "mysteries " outside the Church is like saying: The dead man had still strong legs and healthy hands, I saw him walking down the road and shaking people hands.
Juan4/8/2021 4:21 pm
Juan: The issue of receiving people from heresies and schisms into the Orthodox Church has never been completely cut and dried. It often happens on a case-by-case basis. But the inalienable component is repentance of the heresy or schism.
Juan4/8/2021 2:49 pm
An addition: by "Trinitarian baptism" I mean a baptism that employs the proper Trinitarian formula and holds a belief in the distinctiveness of the three consubstantial hypostases. By the way, baptism by pouring is still baptism (valid, unrepeatable), despite being an abusive practice when turned into a rule as Latins have done historically. Nevertheless, the widespread practice of baptism by pouring among the Latins (which is also relatively widespread in the contemporary Russian and Serbian Churches, and which I agree is an abuse that should be curbed) was well known by the Pan-Orthodox Council of Jerusalem (1672) and certainly wasn't considerated invalidating by it, even if less than a century later a local council in Constantinople unilaterally decided otherwise.
Juan4/8/2021 2:35 pm
To the editor: Thanks for the response. Certainly, the Russian Church has the right not to recognize the Apostolic succession of Ukrainian schismatics just as she doesn't recognize that of Protestant groups (as far as I'm aware, there were doubts and debates in the Russian Church concerning the recognition of Anglican ordinations in the 19th century, and where there are doubts it's permissible to have a variety of approaches). Nevertheless, it's undeniable that these schismatics are sometimes received by rebaptism, something which, in light of the above evidence and of the traditional recognition of Lutheran and Anglican baptism (and of any Trinitarian baptism in general), is completely unjustifiable and uncanonical. Here is, for example, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk almost simultaneously affirming that the Russian Church "recognizes" RC sacraments, but that it's improper to speak of "recognition" of even the Baptism of schismatics. It seems that between both interviews Met. Hilarion went from holding a traditional view akin to St. Seraphim's one, to holding that of sacramental economia. In my opinion, either an error in judgement or a move motivated by politics.
sherlock_holmes4/8/2021 5:31 am
Another holy fact of the Orthodox faith is this:in the Orthodox teaching on the Church and the holy mysteries,the only and unique mystery is the Church itself,the Body of Christ the Theantropos and it is therefore the only source and content of all the divine mysteries...Outside this all-encompassing,theantropic mystery of the Church,the supreme Mystery,there are and can be no " mysteries" and therefore no inter-communion in the mysteries.Hence,only in the Church-that unique universal mystery of Christ's-can there be any mysteries.For the Orthodox Church,as the Body of Christ,is both the source and the criterion of the mysteries,never the other way around.The mysteries can not be elevated above the Church and examined outside the Body of Christ.Therefore,according to Orthodox ecclesiology and in accordance with the whole of Orthodox Tradition,the Orthodox Church does not recognize any mysteries outside itself,nor does it consider them as mysteries until someone from a heretical "Church"(pseudo-Church) approaches the Orthodox Church of Christ with repentance...Saint Justin Popovich The Orthodox Church and the Ecumenism...
David4/8/2021 1:06 am
The thinking behind accepting Baptisms that have the "proper form" by Chrismation only is also seen in the practice of receiving Schismatic clergy by "Vesting." If Catholic Priests, Old Calendarists and others can be received by vesting, why not the OCU? This is essentially what the Ecumenical Patriarchate did when they received the OCU en masse prior to the Tomos. I can understand Athonite objections to the practice----"re-baptism" and the rejection of such economia across the board is the standard there (and is a widely held opinion in Greece). But the MP?
Editor4/7/2021 9:33 pm
Juan, very interesting and informative quote from St. Seraphim Sobolev). But your question at the end is like asking "If they accept apples, why don't they accept oranges?" St. Seraphim is talking about apostolic succession, but some bishops of the Ukrainian schismatics do not have apostolic succession. And the quote also answers your own question. Even if they have apostolic succession, they are in heresy. However, there have been cases of Ukrainian schismatics repenting and asking to be rejoined to the Orthodox Church, in which case they are received through repentance. They are not re-baptized. But they have to repent of their schism before they can be received.
Juan4/7/2021 12:33 pm
Steve: The Russian Church doesn't practice economia. Ever since the Moscow Synod of 1666, its hierarchy [many saints included, among which are St. Philaret of Moscow, St. Theophan the Recluse and Serbian canonist St. Nikodim (Milash)] have recognized the validity/reality of Latin Baptism, not repeating it and receiving converts according to the universal practice established by St. Mark of Ephesus, the Councils of Constantinople (1484) and Jerusalem (1672). The theory of sacramental economia is a 18th century Greek innovation that has only served to deviate from the universal conciliar canons for reception, and it is not recognized by the non-Greek Churches, save for ROCOR and those Russian hierarchs influenced by the equally innovative teachings of Khomyakov and the Slavophiles. Here's St. Seraphim (Sobolev), a true pillar of the Orthodox faith against ecumenism and modern heresies: "Among the errors of Vladimir Solovyov, one must also refer to his calling Catholicism the Church. Catholicism must be called a schism with a heretical confession, due to which, although apostolic succession with the sacraments is there, the inner regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit is not effective for Catholics and, therefore, it does not regenerate and does not save them. Vladimir Soloviev is even more mistaken when he calls Protestantism the Church. There is no regenerating grace at all, for there is no sacrament of holy chrismation and there is no apostolic succession. Therefore, Protestantism , as an unauthorized gathering, is even farther away, than Latinism, from the Orthodox Church. "(Regarding the book of Prof. Archpriest P. Ya. Svetlov" The Idea of ​​the Kingdom of God) "We saw that baptismal regenerating grace in its wondrous manifestations is inherent only in the Orthodox Church. Therefore, this grace, or what is the same, the Kingdom of God, is the most important essential sign that distinguishes Orthodox Christians from pagans and Jews, since they do not have this grace. Although the latter is communicated in Catholicism , nevertheless, here there is no Kingdom of God in the manifestations of the grace of the Holy Spirit, since although, according to the apostolic succession, the inner regenerating grace is communicated in Catholicism through the sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation,but,by virtue of the words of the Apostle Paul,it does not work here, and grace is not salvific here, that is, it cannot be revealed in its manifestations due to the heresies inherent in Catholicism. Understandable, for Apostle Paul said: If we, or an Angel from heaven, preaches to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you than the good news to you, let him be anathema. Those who have received this grace are excommunicated from it, or rather, from its saving action. This grace, although it remains in Catholicism, due to the fact that Divine gifts are irrevocable, that is, immutable, but it is no longer effective and not saving. As for Protestantism, there is neither apostolic succession nor the sacrament of Holy Chrismation. Therefore, there are no gifts of the Holy Spirit here, and along with this, there can be no manifestations of them at all. It is clear that in Protestantism there is no Kingdom of God or the effective grace of the Holy Spirit, either in its essence or in its manifestations." (Distortion of Orthodox truth in Russian theological thought) "You cannot say that Catholics have no grace. They have grace, due to the continuous succession of the lawful hierarchy, which originates from the Apostle Peter himself. But this grace among Catholics is not effective. It, if I can only put it this way, is bound by Catholic heresies and therefore does not save." It's only understandable for Athonites to reject it, but if the MP historically recognized Latin baptism, why don't they recognize the baptism of Ukrainian schismatics? IMO: political cynicism and the overall degradation of theo- and ecclesiological consciousness of our days.
Peter4/6/2021 9:15 pm
Well said. The fact that there are those on Athos who have welcomed the schismatics is truly scandalous
Steve4/6/2021 3:48 pm
The Athonite mentality expressed here also typically denies those who have been received into the Church by chrismation only and without an Orthodox baptism. That's why Athonite monasteries often insist upon baptizing Orthodox Christians. The typical Russian practice of economia is widely rejected at Mt. Athos. The same Athonites who reject the OCU would probably refuse to serve with many Russian Orthodox priests as well.
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required