Mt. Athos, April 6, 2021
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.