Morphou, Cyprus, December 21, 2021
The Greek priest who yelled out that Pope Francis is a heretic was doing his job, offering a God-pleasing confession of faith, believes His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou.
The Cypriot hierarch spoke about Protopresbyter John Diotis, the elderly priest who yelled out as Pope Francis entered the Archbishopric of Athens earlier this month, in his homily on the feast of St. Nicholas, December 6.
Fr. John spoke the pure truth when he shouted, “Pope, you’re a heretic!” says Met. Neophytos. He was immediately grabbed and dragged away by the police. “The police did their job, but Fr. John also did his job,” the Cypriot hierarch said.
“At that very moment, for his courageous confession of faith, Christ forgave and erased any sins committed by Fr. John from the Book of Life,” Met. Neophytos believes. As the hierarch explained, there are various paths to holiness—asceticism, confession, martyrdom, etc.—but they all require the purity of the Orthodox faith.
And Fr. John is well known for standing up for the purity of the faith, including taking a stand against Patriarch Bartholomew’s anti-canonical invasion of Ukrainian Church territory.
We cannot concelebrate with the Pope or other such leaders precisely because they confess a distorted faith, Met. Neophytos added. Thus, Fr. John simply spoke the pure truth, he emphasized.
“Someone had to tell them the truth when all others are silent,” His Eminence said.
“Why this silence?” he asked. “Where is the spirit of self-sacrifice possessed by the saints—St. Nicholas, for example, who was imprisoned by St. Constantine the Great? And Christ Himself and the Mother of God freed him. Christ gave him the Gospel and the Theotokos gave him his omophorion,” Met. Neophytos stressed.
The hierarch also noted that Fr. John has faithfully served the Church for many years, and that the Church has much to be grateful to him for, “because by his efforts, the entire 150 volumes of Patrologia Migne were published and Patristic works have spread all over the world.”
In November 2019, Fr. John sent a letter to Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, who at that time had just recognized the schismatics of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” calling on him to publish the relevant documents and information proving Constantinople’s right to go into Ukrainian Church territory and establish a new church.
The priest has also criticized Pat. Bartholomew’s string of deceptive statements made to justify his actions in Ukraine.