of St. Andrew skete
regarding the Name-Worshipping Heresy
• St. Andrew's skete was a dependency of the Russian monastery, St. Panteleimon's on Mt. Athos. The heresy caused 2 decades of grief and still causes grief today from the HOCNA cult.
• Inadvertently contained herein is a very simple and clear explanation of God's "energies" – a subject which is being abused by the neo-pseudo elders of today.
• This decision of the Russian Synod was published in Church News, May 18, 1913, and was based upon three theological studies, by Archbishop Nikon, former Archbishop of Volgda who himself traveled to Mt. Athos, Bishop Anthony of Volynia [Khrapovitsky] (who both were both members of the holy Synod) and by Professor S. Troitsky, an editor of Church News:
By the Grace of God, the most holy ruling Synod of all Russia, to the all-honorable brethren who are struggling in the monastic polity, grace to you and may peace from the Lord Jesus Christ be abounding.
As concerns, first of all, the book On the Mountains of the Caucasus, it had a wide circulation among the monastics and was received favorably, and it is not at all remarkable, for this book has as its subject the precious treasure of the ascetics “noetic asceticism” [prayer of the heart]. It confirms the necessity of this practice which has somewhat been neglected by the monks of our times; it gives a clear expression to many things, which the ascetics feel inwardly in their experience, but in the form of unclear presentiments and conjectures.
An objective judgment of such a desirable book, and much more its condemnation, when considering its shortcomings/failings was not easy, for everyone fittingly feared that in condemning the failings of the book, he might cast a shadow of disapproval upon the sacred truths for which this book was published in order to establish them. In spite of this, however, from the first edition of this book, many who were experienced in the spiritual life found it questionable. The most holy Synod knows, for example, that in one of our most illustrious monasteries in the north of the Empire, reading of On the Mountains of the Caucasus was forbidden by the elders. What constitutes the deception of Fr. Hilarion? It consists in this; that Fr. Hilarion, not being satisfied with the description of the prayer of the heart, of its spiritual fruits, its necessity for salvation, etc., bowed to the temptation of giving his own somewhat philosophical elucidation of why the prayer of Jesus is salvific; and forgetting the guidance of the holy Church, he wandered lost in his own theories; he invented, as he himself says, a new “dogma”, which was found nowhere else before, leading not to the magnifying of the most sweet name “Jesus”, nor to a strengthening of the prayer of the heart (which was, we think, the intention of Fr. Hilarion) but leading entirely to the contrary.
Truly, we must ask ourselves what is the Jesus prayer in the understanding of the holy Orthodox Church? It is the invocation of the Lord Jesus Christ Just as the blind man in Jericho cried out calling upon “Jesus, thou son of David have mercy on me”; and he did not cease from crying, paying no attention until the Lord hearkened unto his prayers (“Lord, that I might have my sight”, etc. Mark 10:46-52). So also, does the ascetic of noetic prayer unceasingly call upon the Lord Jesus with undoubting faith, with humility, and with continuous cleansing of the heart that Jesus might come and grant him “to taste and see that the Lord is good.” From the Holy Gospel we know that God does not abandon “His own elect which cry day and night unto Him” (Luke 18:7), for He gives them His grace, for (with the Father and the Spirit) “He cometh and maketh His abode among such” for Himself. Where the grace of the Holy Spirit is, there also are the fruit of the Spirit. “Wherever God is, here also is every good”, as a certain ascetic said, for the kingdom of God is there. Behold, this is what constitutes the source and cause and the entire interpretation of those exalted and sweet conditions which befit those higher degrees of noetic asceticism [prayer of the heart] which do not only possess the soul, but which are also manifested in the bodily life of man; they are the gift of the source of every good in response to our beseeching: an entirely free gift, explainable only by the goodness of Him who gives it; since he is free to give or not to give, to both increase and decrease, and also to take away completely His gifts. But this so natural and comforting explanation which so arouses in us love for the good Lord appeared to Father Hilarian and his followers to be insufficient; and they decided to replace it with their teaching, i.e., that the Jesus prayer saves, because the name “Jesus” is salvatory, for in it, as in the other divine names, God is inseparably present. But saying this, they do not suspect apparently to what fearful conclusions such a teaching inevitably leads. For if this doctrine is true, then it follows that the unconscious repetition of the name of God is effective (so Father Bulatovich St ates in his Apology, page 89). “If you unconsciously invoke the name of the Lord Jesus, you will St ill have Him in His name with all His divine properties like a book with everything printed in it; and if you invoke Him as man, you will still have in the name ‘Jesus’ all of God.” However this contradicts the very words of the Lord, “Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 7:21 ff). If this new doctrine be true, then in this case, it would be possible for someone to perform miracles with the name of Christ without believing in Christ However our Lord told the Apostles that they could not cast out the demon “Because of their unbelief” (Matt. 17:20). If the interpretation of Father Hilarion and his followers is accepted, some events cannot be understood such, as that recorded in Acts 19:14 ff. More significantly, the acceptance (by Father Bulatovich) that “in the very sounds and the letters of the name of God the grace of God is present” (Apology, pg 188) or, which is essentially the same, that God is inseparably present in His name, which results finally in God being somehow subordinate or subject to man; and moreover, that we can consider Him to be somehow at the disposal of man. It is sufficient (even without faith or unconsciously) for a man to pronounce the name of God, and God is somehow obligated through His grace to be with this man and fulfill his desires.
But this is now blasphemy! This is a magical superstition, which long before has been condemned by the Holy Church. Certainly both Fr. Hilarion and all those of like mind with him will turn their faces away with horror from such blasphemy; but, however if they do not like this, they are obligated to come to doubt concerning their “dogma” which necessarily results in such a condition. Not less dangerous results are from this new teaching for the ascetic life, for noetic asceticism [prayer of the heart]. If the grace of God is present in those sounds and letters of the name of God, if this name pronounced by us or the idea of it held in our spirit is God, then the first place in noetic asceticism is now taken not by the invocation of the Lord, not by the lifting up of our heart and our mind to Him (for why should I invoke Him, whom I practically by force possess Him already in my heart or spirit?) but rather the first place will be the repetition of the words of the prayer and the mechanical turning of it in the mind and on the tongue.
An inexperienced ascetic will entirely forget that this prayer is directed towards someone, he will be satisfied only in the mechanical repetition and he will expect from this dead repetition those fruits which only the true Jesus prayer gives. When he does not receive these fruits, he will either lose heart or he will begin to produce them artificially in himself and to accept this exultation wrought by him as the action of grace. In other words, he will fall into deception. Certainly, Fr. Hilarion does not wish such to befall anyone.
The followers of Fr. Hilarion who wrote the Apology and the appeals from Mt. Athos consider themselves to be followers of St. Gregory Palamas and their opponents to be Barlaamites. This however, is an evident misunderstanding; the similarity between the teaching of St. Gregory and this new teaching is only external and just in appearance. St. Gregory taught that we must attribute the term “divinity” not only to the essence of “God” but also to the “energy” or to His energies, i.e., to the divine attributes: wisdom, goodness, omniscience, omnipotence, etc., through which God reveals Himself to them without, and in this manner the Saint taught that we should use the term in a somewhat broader sense than usual. This variable sense of the term constitutes the whole resemblance of St. Gregory’s teaching with this new teaching, but essentially there is a complete difference between them.
St. Gregory taught that we must attribute the term “divinity” not only to the essence of “God” but also to the “energy” or to His energies, i.e., to the divine attributes: wisdom, goodness, omniscience, omnipotence, etc., through which God reveals Himself to them without, and in this manner the Saint taught that we should use the term in a somewhat broader sense than usual. This variable sense of the term constitutes the whole resemblance of St Gregory’s teaching with this new teaching, but essentially there is a complete difference between them.
First, the Hierarch in no place names the energies “God” but teaches that we should name them “divinity” (not God, but divinity). The difference between these two terms can be easily understood from the following example. It is said, “Christ showed His divinity on Tabor”, but no one, however, would say, “Christ showed His God on Tabor”; this would either be mindless or blasphemy. The word “God” indicates the person or personality, while the word “divinity” the attribute, the quality, the nature. In this way, even if we acknowledge the name of God as an energy of His, in such a case we could name it simply divinity, but not God, much less “God Himself” as do these new teachers. Secondly, the Hierarch nowhere teaches that we should confuse the energies of God with the results of these energies in the created world, which is to confuse the energy with the fruits of the energy. For example, the Apostles saw the glory of God on Tabor and heard the voice of God. We can say about them that they saw and heard the divinity.
Descending from the mountain, the Apostles remembered that which had taken place and then narrate it to others, communicated to them all the words heard by them. Can it be possible to say that they communicated to others the divinity? That their narration was an energy of God? Certainly not. It was simply the fruit of the divine energy, the fruit of its activity in the created world. However, there new teachers manifestly confuse the energy of God with its fruits, when they name as divinity as God Himself, the names of God, and every divine word, and indeed even the church prayers, i.e., not only the word spoken by God, but all our words about God, “The words, by which we name God” as is written in the objection to the Confession of Faith of the Monastery of St. Panteleimon (in a parenthesis to the words of St. Symeon the new Theologian). But this is already a deification of the creature, pantheism, which considers that all that exists is God. Wherefore, the danger is clearly justified, that was pointed out in the theological verdict from the theologians of Halki theological School. In this confusion of the creature and the divinity one discerns not a resemblance with the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas, but rather an exact resemblance to the teaching of Barlaam and his followers, whom the holy Father refuted, for among other things, also accepting somehow two kinds of divinity, created and uncreated (Porphyrius, History of Mt. Athos, Vol. 3, page 748). In order to support its conjectures, the Apology and other writings of like mind with it did not bring forward quotations from Holy Writ and the writings of the Holy Fathers. For Fr Hilarian did not confess in vain to his spiritual father [Kyrikos] that the teaching of this new dogma “is found nowhere.”
The passages presented do not prove the ideas of the followers of this doctrine, as is proved in detail here in the attached statements. The phrases “Thy name”, “The name of the Lord” and the like in the language of sacred literature (and together with these, in the Fathers of the Church and in the Church’s hymns and prayers) are simply descriptive expressions, like “the glory of the Lord”, “the eyes, ears, hands of the Lord”, or referring to a man, “my soul”. It would be extremely erroneous to understand literally and to attribute eyes and ears to the Lord or the soul as separated from a man. Likewise, not in the least is there any foundation to perceive in the former expressions traces of some teaching concerning the name of God; i.e., the deification of he name of God; the phrases simply mean “Thou” or “the Lord”. A great many passages of Holy Writ, aside from the foregoing, are arbitrarily misinterpreted by the followers of this new doctrine, so that justly we can bring to mind the anathema published against them who attempt “to misinterpret and change that which is spoken by the grace of the Holy Spirit” (Greek Triodion pg. 149) which anathema is referred to in the Appeal of the "League of Archangel Michael" (section 6).
In the appended expositions, examples of such misinterpretations are presented; here one of them of all will suffice. One of the objections in the Confession of the Panteleimonites refers to the words of Symeon the New Theologian, “The words of men are changeable and empty, but the word of God is living and active”. But where herein either refers to the creative word of God (e.g. “Let the be light, and there was light” and the like) or it refers to the begetting before all eternity of the Son of God, the Word of God. The editor of the objection himself simply interpolated after “the word of God” (that is, the words with which we name God) and he achieved that which he desired, forgetting that the words proceeding from the mouth of men, even if they are spoken concerning God, are not possible to be equal with the words from the mouth of God.
With special insistence, the followers of the new teaching refer to the late Fr. John of Kronstadt, in order to prove their doctrine. Wonderful to say, the writings of this blessed man are widely available. One might say that all have read them. Why then up till now, no one has observed in them such a teaching expect Fr. Hilarion and his followers? This and only this now cause one to doubt the accuracy of the reference to Father John. Carefully reading the works of Fr. John everyone can be convinced that Fr. John is speaking only concerning the particular phenomenon in our consciousness when praying, with the pronouncement of the name of God in our heart, and especially in the Jesus prayer, we do not separate Him in our consciousness from the pronounced name, and that the Name and God Himself coincide. Fr. John counsels that we not separate them, not to attempt in prayer to think of God as separated from the name and outside it; this advice is entirely necessary and reasonable for the man who is praying. If we, so to speak say, enclose God in His name, when in it is pronounced in the heart, we are protected from the danger of attributing to God, when we address Him, a material form, which all the law givers for spiritual warfare dissuade us from doing.
The name of God at the time of prayer should in some fashion be fused or identified with God so as to be inseparable. Not unjustly did Fr. Hilarion in the beginning said that the name of God for the man praying is not ”God” but “like God”. But this is so only in prayer and in our heart and it depends only upon the limits of our consciousness and our created nature. However, never is it concluded from the foregoing, that outside of our consciousness the name of God is identical with God, that it is divinity. Wherefore, Fr. John, if he like many other church writers, refers to the special and miraculous power of the name of God, he also clearly gives us to understand that this power does consist of the name itself as such, but in the invocation of the Lord, who or whose grace is acting. For example, we read in his My Life in Christ, (book 4, pg 30, 2nd edition, revised by the author, Petrograd, 1893),
“...the almighty and creative spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ is everywhere and He can everywhere name the non existent as existing (Matt. 18:20) ‘And lo, I am with you always…’ But so that the heart of little faith might not think that the Cross or the name of Christ accomplish these things in and of themselves, and that the same Cross and the name of Christ, do not produce miracles when I do not look with the eyes of the heart or of the faith in Christ the Lord and I do not believe with all my heart in everything which he did for our salvation.”
These words in no way agree with the new dogma of Fr. Hilarion and Fr. Anthony Bulatovich that supposedly “the name has almighty power to work miracles as a consequence of the presence in it of the divinity” (fourth point of the Appeal of the "League of the Archangel Michael"). On the contrary, that which Fr. Chrysantus and the others spoke and wrote against such a teaching is validated, i.e., the name of God works miracles under the condition of faith. In other words, when a man pronounces the name, he awaits the miracle not from speaking the words, but he calls upon the Lord, whom the name indicates, and the Lord according to the faith of this man performs the miracle. The Lord also designates this absolutely necessary condition for a miracle, “If ye have faith and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain be thou removed and cast into the sea; it shall be done, and all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matt 21:21-22). “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove ye hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you [(Matt. 17:20) et. al.]. So does the Apostle Peter explains the healing of the lame man in Acts 3:6 “And His name through faith in His name both made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea the faith which is by him hath given him this prefect soundness in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:16). The falseness of this new dogma is finally verified by the conclusions, which are derived from it by its followers, especially Fr. Bulatovich in his Apology. According to him, the icons and the sign of the cross and divine mysteries of the church have effect only because upon them or during the course of performance, the name of God is portrayed or pronounced.
One cannot read without extreme astonishment the 12th chapter of the Apology (pg. 172-186) where Fr. Bulatovich, gives a new elucidation of the Divine Liturgy according to his new doctrine. Up to now, the Holy church taught us that bread and wine become the body and blood of the Lord because God by the prayers and the faith (certainly not that of the priest or of one of the congregation, but) of the Church of Christ “sends down His Holy Spirit and makes the bread the body and the wine the blood of His Christ.” Fr. Bulatovich in his Apology writes that the mystery is accomplished “precisely by the pronounced name of God” i.e., supposedly, because simply the words “Holy Spirit”, “name of the Holy Spirit” and the sign of the cross was made with the fingers in a position which expressed the name (pg 183-184). But since before this the names of God are pronounced over the gifts indeed more than once, Fr. Bulatovich in his sophistry maintains that in the proskomide, from the moment of the piercing of the lamb “the lamb and the wine in the chalice are all-holy, sanctified be the confession of the name of Jesus; it is Jesus according to grace, but not yet according to essence” (pg. 174). If such be the case, why did the Orthodox Church once condemn the so-called bread worshippers, who preformed prostrations before the Holy Gifts before their change? Finally, if the performance of the mysteries is restricted only to the pronouncement of certain names and the performance of certain names and the performance of certain actions, in that case these words could be pronounced and these actions preformed not only by a priest, but also by a layman and indeed even by a non-Christian. Is Fr. Bulatovich really ready to accept that even by such a server the mystery would be accomplished? Why then do we have a lawful hierarchy? It is true that in the synaxaria and other such books there are found narratives of mysteries accomplished without a lawful celebrant when the appointed words of the prayers were pronounced (indeed, sometimes as a joke or childish sport). But all these narratives bear record that God at times “became manifest to them that asked not after Him” (Esaias 65:1), as e.g., the Apostle Paul or at times, that the church’s mysteries must not be a subject of mockery or childish games, for God can punish such. In any case, such narratives do not overturn the God-given ecclesiastical order. Thus from an erroneous principle, Fr. Bulatovich necessarily reaches erroneous conclusions, which on their part prove the falseness of the principle.
On the foundation of all the foregoing, the most Holy Synod unanimously is in agreement with the decision of the all-Holy Patriarch and the sacred Synod of the Great Church of Constantinople, which condemned the new teaching as “blasphemous and heretical”; and after this, the synod also beseeches everyone who has been led astray by this new teaching, to abandon this erroneous sophistry and humbly obey the voice of the Mother Church which alone upon the earth is “the pillar and ground of the truth” and outside her there is no salvation. She, the Bride of Christ, knows more than all how to love and honor her heavenly bridegroom. She, more than all, knows, embraces the most sweet name of Jesus and other names of God; but she never permits, however, this honor to extend beyond what is proper, she does permit our purblind human conjectures and our limited human perception to become superior to the truth revealed to the Church by Christ, as if we would correct it.
The Orthodox theology concerning the divine names is as follows:
1. The name of God is holy, worshipful, and desirable, because it is useful to us as a verbal designation for that most desired and most Holy Being, God, the source of every good. This name is of God, because it was revealed to us by God, it speaks to us of God, it refers our spirit towards God, etc. In prayer (especially the Jesus prayer) the name of God, and God Himself are inseparably in our consciousness, and it is if they coincide, and indeed, they cannot and ought not be separated, opposing one to the other; but this only in prayer and only by our heart. Examined theologically and in reality, the name of God is only a name. It is not God Himself nor an attribute (characteristic) of His. The name of an object is not the object itself. Therefore, it is impossible for it to be considered or named either God (this would be mindless and blasphemous) or divinity, for it also is not an energy of God.
2. The name of God uttered in prayer with faith is able to perform miracles, but not by itself in itself, nor as a consequence of some divine power which, in a matter of speaking, is enclosed in it or attached to it, which would then work mechanically, but rather thus: the Lord seeing our faith, in the power of His un-lying promise, He sends His grace, and through it He performs the miracle.
3. Each of the Holy Mysteries are accomplished neither by the faith of him who performs them nor by the faith of him who receives, but neither by the invoking or depiction of the name of God, but by the prayer and faith of the Holy Church, on whose behalf it is preformed and with the power granted he by the Lord’s promise. Such is the Orthodox faith, the patristic and Apostolic Faith.
If there should still exist stubborn followers of this condemned teaching, immediately they are to be suspended from priestly service...
Now the most Holy Synod invites the superiors and elders of all the venerable monasteries in Russia: after the reading of this epistle, with all the brethren present, to hold the service of supplication, that is appointed for Orthodoxy Sunday, for the return of all who have gone astray. Afterwards, if there are in the brotherhood some of contrary mind, they must express their submission to the voice of the Church and promise that from now on they will withdraw from self-willed arbitrary theories and they shall not offend anyone by them. All are obliged to forgive one another from their heart, if anyone in the excitement of the discussion said or did something offensive to the other, and they should live in peace, working out their salvation. The book, On the Mountain of the Caucuses, as containing grounds leading to erroneous theories and the Apology of Fr. Bulatovich and the books and pamphlets written to establish this concocted new teaching, must be proclaimed as condemned by the Church and must be removed from circulation among the brotherhood of the monasteries and their reading to be forbidden. If after this there should still exist stubborn followers of this condemned teaching, immediately they are to be suspended from priestly service, as many as among them have the priest’s office, all who remain obstinate, after counseling, should be referred to the appointed Church court, which in the case of their further persistence and un-repentance, will deprive them of their priestly and monastic rank, so that the evil sheep not infect the flock. The most Holy Synod fervently summons to obedience, Fr. Hilarion the Schemamonk, and Anthony the Schemahieromonk and the other foremost defenders of the new doctrine. For if they until now believe that they were defending a truth of the Church and that the words of the Apostle could apply to them concerning “shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:20), now when the highest authority of the church both Constantinople and Russia have passed judgment, further persistence in their own opinion is finally a battle opposing the truth and draws, upon them the threatening word of the Lord, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones, it were better that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6). But may this lot never befall them, nor any one else, but may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with all men. Amen.
St. Anthony the Great: Life and Teachings
St. Athanasios the Great
Written only a year after St. Anthony's repose by his fellow ascetic, this is certainly the definitive account of his life and struggles. Newly revised and typeset classic translation.
Item# 2819. (DC: D) Saddle-stitched. $7.00.
St. Athanasios the Great
Written only a year after St. Anthony's repose by his fellow ascetic, this is certainly the definitive account of his life and struggles. Newly revised and typeset classic translation.
Item# 2819. (DC: D) Saddle-stitched. $7.00.
Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Saint Nicholas
Sat/Sun Feb 15/16
Father Elias Warnke from Nevada accompanied by Father Andrew Kencis of Alberta will be at the Youth Conference at Mountain View with the Myrrh-Streaming Icon of Saint Nicholas. Many may remember this icon was at the Consecration of the Church of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia at Mountain View back in the summer of last year.
The myrrh has been known to flow even more profusely at youth gatherings.
On the New False Teaching, the Deifying Name, and the "Apology" of Antony Bulatovich
Hieroschemamonk Anthony Bulatovich’s booklet differs significantly from Schemamonk Ilarion’s book, Na Gorakh Kavkaza (In the Mountains of Caucasia), in the defense of which it is written. Schemamonk Ilarion had as his primary intention to praise the "Jesus Prayer" and to convince his contemporary ascetics to practise this monastic activity, which is so often neglected today. This intention is altogether praiseworthy. Everything that has been written by the fathers on the Jesus Prayer is beneficial, as Christians should be reminded. Those monks who would want to lessen the significance of the Jesus Prayer and all other spiritual activities passed down by the fathers are worthy of reproach. Nonetheless, a correct undertaking does not stand in need of incorrect means, and the patristic tradition of the Jesus Prayer has sufficient sound reasons in its favour so that one need not resort to superstitious arguments. Unfortunately the Elder Ilarion did not avoid this and he added his own sophistries to the many patristic and salvific reflections on the benefit and meaning of the Jesus Prayer. He took it into his mind to argue that the name of Jesus is God Himself.
One asks why it was necessary for Schemamonk Ilarion to spread his superstition. The answer to this is discomforting. His teaching is connected with a profound disparagement of all rules of prayer apart from the Jesus Prayer. He asserts that those perfected in it do not stand in need of the reading of the Psalter, Matins, Vespers, and other books of prayer, and cites as evidence this saying of Saints Kallistos and Ignatios. [Their words] however, have precisely the opposite meaning. Here one needs to add the caveat that in Ilarion’s book, and even more so in Bulatovich’s book, nearly all the Biblical and patristic sayings are cited with misconstrued interpretations and frequently even misconstrued expositions. Thus, the saying of Ignatios and Kallistos reads: "while practising the Jesus Prayer, never neglect your rule." The author of the book thinks that in Slavonic, as in Russian, a double negative strengthens the negation and understand this saying like this: "those who practise the Jesus Prayer may neglect their rule." Let him open the Ochtoechos and read the third resurrectional exaspostilarion: "for Christ is risen, may no one not believe." If these words were thus construed in a Russian phrase, then they would read as: "may no one believe in the resurrection of Christ," but in Slavonic, as in Greek, a double negation is an affirmation, and the words of the Ochtoechos preclude disbelief in Christ’s resurrection, and call all to believe in it. In the same way the words of Ignatios and Kallistos forbid one to replace or abbreviate the normal monastic rule for the sake of the Jesus Prayer, and these words must be translated into Russian as follows: "those practising the Jesus Prayer should not neglect the monastic rule."
God forbid that they neglect it, we would add, because such a monk would inevitably fall into spiritual deception (plani; prelest). The latter is a particular danger for Ilarion’s followers, inasmuch as this Elder explains that only in the first steps of this prayerful activity does the ascetic repeat the Jesus Prayer orally and fully. Later, having become perfected in it, he himself becomes greater than all petition and only glorifies Jesus by pronouncing His name: "Jesus Christ," or even simply "Jesus." Ascending even higher in the spiritual life, he does not even have need to pronounce this word, but guards it in his heart, as a constant property of the heart.
In such a case, what does a contemporary monk practise? He does not go to church, he does not read the church services, psalms, and prayers. He simply bears in his heart the name of Jesus. Does he not risk simply forgetting all his monasticism and, remaining in idleness and negligence, justifying his worldliness in that he bears in his heart the name of Jesus? Or that he reached such a level that a fall is impossible? It is wrong to think this way! Saint Macarius the Great witnesses "that some fathers reached such a level of perfection that they performed miracles, but later, having become negligent, fell." A fall is also possible for great pillars of asceticism. If, however, they are in obedience to the monastic rule, then the cause of the fall is easily revealed as negligence or weariness in prayer, or in irritation at accepting holy obediences. But if the ascetic already considers prayer and obedience not to be necessary for him, then he is a law unto himself and every temptation that seems good to him he considers to be divinely-inspired. Following Schemamonk Ilarion, he is convinced, that along with the name of Jesus the Hypostatic God is present. Could God mistakenly tolerate something negative in His chosen vessel? Of course not, and therefore everything that seems lawful to him becomes lawful for him. This is also the conclusion of the doctrine of the Khlysts. "Trust the spirit," they say, and the spirit abides in the hearts of these spiritual Christians, as they consider themselves to be because of the life of fasting and chastity which characterises them at the beginning of their enthusiasm. Later, they are seduced by the thought that everything that comes from their heart comes from the Holy Spirit. They then begin, during their rites, to pay attention to that which their soul desires to "il-luminate" them. If their soul is filled with the desire for fornication, then they must believe that it is the Holy Spirit that has inspired this unclean desire. Then, abhorring the undefiled marital bed, during their rituals they first give themselves up to frenzied [sexual] mingling, and later do the same thing without ritual. Therefore, it was not without reason that we at Russkiy Inok Journal cautioned the readers of Ilarion’s book that it, labouring under the delusion of the ascetic’s superstitious fabrications, leads one to the precipice of the Khlystism sect, Rasputin's sect. We know from Elders of elevated spiritual life that Ilarion himself, against the prohibition of the superior of Novo-Afonsky [New Athos Monastery], abandoned the holy monastery and obedience and made himself a desert-dweller on his own.
Unfortunately our time is a time of marked strengthening of Khlystism in both the Russian people and Russian society. Complete faithlessness has come full cycle. It has become terrifying for people to live outside of communion with heaven, but to come close to it by the narrow path, through the path of Christ seems, to the corrupt and the sinful, to be beyond their strength. Therefore they fabricate for themselves others paths for growing near to the divinity: sectarianism, magnetism, neo-Buddhism, but particularly Khlystism, which is, unfortunately, a Russian phenomenon that is not new. Khlysts, under the name of Johnites, chrikovites, koloskovism, stefanism, innokentyites, have filled both capitals, Moscow and St. Petersburg, and the Ukraine, east and west, both the trans-Volga and Siberia. They have penetrated many monasteries: the Nikov Hermitage, the Pskov, Suzdal, Poldolsk and Olonets monasteries, and others.
Not long ago many people of little faith in society at least respected the moral teachings of Christianity, but were dubious of the teaching about miracles. Today, however, the opposite is the case. Those same people who have little faith in the reality of miracles are ready to accept every fabricated miracle of swindlers and tricksters, provided that it weakens the significance of the commandments of God about prayer, obedience, and self restraint. They greedily fall upon everything that departs from the strict teaching of the Church, accepting all that promises growing close to the divinity without Orthodox Christian piety and without being adorned with morality. This is why so many have seized upon Ilarion’s teaching: one from blind zeal and stubbornness, another from laziness, delighted by the idea they will soon reach such a level of perfection that they will not have to stand through church services or read any prayers or the Holy Scripture, but will only "bear in their heart the name of Jesus."
The dishonesty of Ilarion and his followers, and especially that of Antony Bulatovich, is exposed by the fact that, not being satisfied with establishing their own doctrine, they attack those who disagree with them, intimidating them and their audience and readers with their proclamations, accusing them of denying the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, of refuting the Jesus Prayer and all spiritual activity, of extolling their scholarly learnedness in place of spiritual experience, and so forth.
To this we answer that we recognize the Divinity of Jesus Christ, highly esteem the Jesus Prayer, and do not pride ourselves in our learnedness, but place it lower than spiritual experience. We do not, however, see spiritual experience in Schemamonk Ilarion’s book, rather we see self-deceiving dreams, and we find spiritual experience even less in Bulatovich’s book, but find their only logomachy and scholasticism, but without hard logic, without knowledge of the Holy Scripture and without an understanding of the Greek language that he cites.
Ilarion’s book, which we read in October 1912, has the advantage over Bulatovich’s book and his printed proclamations in that it contains fewer conscious lies and conscious distortions of texts of Holy Scripture and the holy fathers, and less intimidation of all those who disagree with the author by accusing them of godlessness and heresy. Not long before the publication of his book Ilarion himself doubted the correctness of his thoughts that the name of Jesus is God Himself. He wrote to an Athonite spiritual father about this in a letter in which he recognized that he had not found this teaching either in Holy Scripture or in the fathers. He asked the spiritual father for his critique of this new teaching (cf., Russki Inok 1912, no.15, pp. 62-63). The Elder answered him disapprovingly. But alas, the very thought that he had created a new dogma enticed the deluded schemamonk: he fell into what is often called the "Elders’ deception." We have great respect for monastic elders and experienced desert hesychasts and have always striven to put monk-students under their guidance. Having at various times served in three academies, we brought monks who were studying together with elders of the monasteries of Valaam, Optina, Sedmiozersky, and this bringing together of the academy with elders has become firmly established, glory to God, to this day. Nevertheless, it is impossible to remain silent about that deliberate temptation or deception which Elders undergo who are negligent about perfection. Everyone has particular temptations: young people are tempted by fornication, old people by profit-seeking, bishops by pride and vainglory, and Elders are tempted to invent their own rules [ustavy] to immortalize their memory in a monastery. Therefore, in one monastery a certain prayer will be added to the rule in memory of an elder, and in another they will take off their klobuks at the priest’s first exclamation at the Liturgy, and in a third they will make a full prostration at the exclamation "holy things are for the holy,"and so on. In so doing they were concerned about their own glory, about their memory, and thought themselves similar to the ancient Liturgists who established the order of Divine Services. In this they are already in complete deception.
However, like Macedonius, Eutechius, and Nestorius, those who like the Elder Ilarion, strive to immortalize their memory by thinking up new dogmas, will create a memory for themselves that will not be effaced until the Lord’s second coming, but this memory will be joined not with blessings, but with perdition.
And behold the bitter fruits of such fame. The best Athonite monasteries have become places of fights, maiming, rebellion against the abbot, and uprisings against the Church. The name "Russian" has become synonymous with heresy on Mount Athos, and now a complete expulsion of our compatriots is possible. Everyone that was unruly, obstinate, ambitious and mercenary has jumped at this new thoughtless dogma and without even much thought about it, they have been glad for the opportunity to "reject authority, and revile the glorious ones" (Jude 1:8), seizing for themselves the position of superior and pilfering the monastery treasury. All of this took place at St. Andrew’s Skete and to some degree in the Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Athos. If Schemamonk Ilarion had not thought up new dogmas but had only collected patristic thoughts about the Jesus Prayer and admonished readers to save themselves under the direction of the holy fathers, then his book would not have been circulated so widely and his name would not have been repeated by so many mouths. In fact, he is far behind the notable heretics of old, for although their dogmas were false they were at least comprehensible. Ilarion and Bulatovich have put forward notions that resemble the ravings of mad men, as the Ecumenical Patriarch and the patriarchal synod rightly declared.
Indeed, can one, without renouncing Christianity or reason, repeat their absurd affirmation that, as it were, the name of Jesus is God? We recognize that the name of Jesus is holy, bestowed by God and proclaimed by an Angel, a name given to the God-Man at His incarnation, but to confuse the name with God Himself – is this not the height of madness? What is God? God is Spirit, eternal, all-good, omniscient, omnipresent, and so forth, one in essence, but three in Hypostases. Does this mean that the name of Jesus is neither a word, nor a name, but a spirit omnipresent, good, and three in hypostases? Who, apart from one deprived of reason, would repeat such an absurdity? Or do they say that this name is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity and the God-Man Himself? In that case let them recognize another absurdity that this name is co-eternal with the Father, born of Him before the ages, incarnate, crucified, and resurrected. Has there ever been a heresy that has led to such insane conclusions?
Meanwhile Father Antony Bulatovich boldly announces that this teaching is contained in both the New and the Old Testaments, that it is in our divine services, and in the writings of the fathers. He does not himself believe what he writes, but only desires to have the means for rebellion in the Athonite monasteries. This writer forgot that Ilarion himself recognizes the novelty of this teaching, and has entered the furthest labyrinth of superstition, judging his teacher to be incorrect in that he [Bulatovich] recognizes the name Jesus as equal in honour with all the other names of the Lord, whereas Ilarion ascribes supernatural power only to the name "Jesus."
But for all that, this imitator of the new false teaching has spread it much more skillfully than had the originator, for many have surpassed him in cunning and insolence and ability to attract and intimidate simple-minded Russian monks. Therefore he, above all else, invented a name for his accusers [imiabortsem —"name opposers"]. He made noise everywhere in newspapers and in his proclamations, which were sent to all the monasteries, that the few people not in agreement with him are heretics, whom he gave the illiterate nickname "imebortsem." He did not even know that the name expressed in this word should be taken from the genitive case, as for instance "imenoslovnoe" and not "imeslovnoe." Bulatovich’s extreme ignorance is demonstrated on every page of his book, whenever he is forced to have dealings with grammar, philosophy, or theology. However, Antony Bulatovich knows that Russian monks are little accustomed to investigate teachings of faith and will consider as heretics those to whom that name has been attached, especially if this is done boldly and under the appearance of zeal for the faith. [For this reason,] before undertaking to give an account of his thought he first dedicates many pages to reviling those who will not agree with him and accuses the opponents of his new heresy of teachings that are entirely foreign to them. He asserts that, for example, that Archbishop Antony and the monk Khrisanthos spoke against mental prayer (p. 3). [He asserts] that they "deny as essential in the prayer of the mind-in-the-heart, the confining of the mind in the word calling upon the name of the Lord" (p.9, does this mean that they recognize the prayer itself?). He applies [to them] the prophecy of Malachi: "may your blessings be cursed" (p. 20), and the retribution, that befell the Jews that blasphemed the name of the Lord (p. 146) and so forth. The credulous reader, the unlettered monk, is already prepared to believe that the writer (i.e., Bulatovich) is indeed a defender of the holy faith from godless blasphemers who deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ.
However, no matter how absurd any sort of heresy might be, if it has the appearance of increasing the greatness of God, many people will be ready to accept it. That is why the country which more than any other had zeal for piety and asceticism, Egypt, was completely attracted to the heresy of Eutychius and to this day remains in the knots of his false doctrine, in the knots of Monophysitism. Every Christian values faith in Jesus Christ as God equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Eutychius himself desiring, as it were, to honour Christ even more, began to teach that His Divine essence swallowed up in Him his human essence and that He is now only God, and those who denied this he called Nestorians, Arians, godless, and other names. It is no wonder that this heresy drew in the anchorites and people of Egypt and Ethiopia and that to this day they despise the Orthodox as having diminished the honour of the Son of God. The Latins have managed to seduce the western nations with a similar imaginary piety, having fabricated in recent times a false doctrine about the Immaculate Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos from Joachim and Anna, and they castigate those who do not agree with this impiety, i.e., the Orthodox, as "enemies of the Theotokos." It is no surprise that many former Ukrainian theologians, accustomed to reading Latin books, accepted this teaching as if it were a glorification of the Most Holy Virgin. Even some of the Russian Old Believers living in Austria introduced this false doctrine into their books, and now Muscovite schismatics defend it in missionary conversations. All heresy spreads with the same success when it appears to elevate our various points of faith more than is indicated in church doctrine, while at the same time practising an impudent battle against the defenders of the latter, applying to them names of former heretics and ascribing to them various godless opinions which they never shared. However, the dishonest devices of the writings of Antony Bulatovich are not limited to this: they distinguish themselves in the way that, citing on every page of his book words of Holy Scripture or the holy fathers and, being unable to produce a single citation that actually supports his absurd heresy, he cites the fathers only partially, omitting what does not please him, and after every text he writes in parentheses "listen to this, this is what is being said here" and then offers a fraudulent interpretation that is entirely foreign to the thought of the sacred words. The ill-informed reader is prepared to think that the author is continuing to cite the Patristic or Biblical words. Sometimes he prints Patristic citations is such a way that they are confused with his own commentary, and it is impossible to distinguish, for instance, where the words of St. Athanasius the Great end (p. 107) and where the words of Antony Bulatovich begin. For instance, St Athanasius writes that several people, chosen by God, were called "christ" that is, "anointed," apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, but that they were not The Christ but were only prefigurations of Him. Fr. Bulatovich adds from his own part that there are people named Jesus who were not "true Jesuses," but adds this in such a way that the reader thinks that they are the words of St. Athanasius, inasmuch as he does not include ending quotation marks in his commentary, but simply writes "p.374" (in the alleged works of St. Athanasius).
If it were clear to the reader that these words are not those of St. Athanasius, but of Antony Bulatovich, then he would understand the falsity of this interpretation. The word "anointed" (christ), attributed to David and other chosen ones is not a proper name but rather an indication of a calling (a rank, as it were), which God gave to kings and prophets. The name of Jesus, however, is a proper name, and no other name or title indicated Jesus the Son of Sirach, Jesus the Son of Jozadek, or Jesus in the New Testament, and there are several named Jesus (Joshua) on Athos.
Truth does not stand in need of such impermissible devices or forgeries of the words of the holy fathers, but Antony Bulatovich needed such falsification in order that, by such a deception, he could escape the vexing demonstration of his denouncers.
It we desired to put forward every example of the author’s entirely arbitrary interpretations that contradict the sense of Revelation, then one would need to rewrite his entire book, for there are several on every page. Pick up this book and look over the more characteristic forgeries of the thought of sacred words: they are on pages 7, 9, 10, 20, 23, 29, 31, 38, 53, 85, 90, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 101, 109, 127, 128, 129, 131, 132, 136, 139, 141, 149, 150, 154, 155, 156, 159, 166, 169, 172, 173, 175, 176, 178, 180, 181, and 183. Many of the indicated pages have two or three false interpretations, and this book has only 189 pages. Sometimes our author finds his thoughts about the names of God in citations from Holy Scripture, where this word is not at all present. See pages 6 and 7, 11, 20 27, 33, 143.
The author does, however, at one point admit that this doctrine is entirely foreign to Divine Revelation. Filling the pages of his book with borrowed interpretations of the Old Testament and sensing the complete lack of correspondence of this with the word of God, he makes a proviso: "but perhaps someone will object to us: you are creating a doctrines (and this objection would be entirely justified!), for where in the holy fathers is it said that the Son of God is the Name of God? It has already been said, we have already cited above the words of the Prophet Isaiah, who called the Son of God by the name of God (Is 30:27). Let us seek [says Bulatovich] to demonstrate even more clearly that under the name 'Word of God' is assumed the "Name of God." The author further cites several passages from the fathers in which the Son of God, as in the beginning of the first Gospel reading, is named the Word, but nowhere and never is He called the "name of God." The words of the Prophet Isaiah, entirely misrepresented here by Bulatovich, read as follows: "Behold the name of the Lord comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue is like a devouring fire," and further. Here the wrath of God against the enemies of Israel is being spoken of, and the name of God is used in the same sense as the "glory of God," that is, simply in place of the word "God." The Old Testament prophets rarely dared to speak directly about revelations of God, and instead of this dreadful word employed descriptive expressions like "the name of God, the glory of God, the Lamb of God"; this is known to everyone, even to the youngest seminarian, but Bulatovich, having filled his book with all such expressions, which one can very easily pick out from the alphabetical Biblical dictionary (published by "Stranik"), acts with them in the same way that the ancient half-pagan Gnostics acted with the words of the Bible "ages, ages of ages, in all ages." The word has no special significance whatsoever apart from an indication of the eternity of God’s being and Christ’s kingdom; however, the Gnostics attributed to the word "age"—in Greek, aeon—a certain divine significance. These compiled an entire history and hierarchy of these aeons, dividing them into evil and good, and recognizing the Son of God as the main aeon. They created whole fables about these, in which consisted their absurd faith in place of the faith defined in our Symbol. And what of it? They based each of their fabrications on words of the prophets or apostles in which they used the word "age,"in Greek aeon, so that to argue with these vain men was not very easy.
Antony Bulatovich employs a similar approach in order to turn an entirely applied meaning of "name" into God. His subterfuges are so far-fetched and artificial that it is impossible to trust their honesty. He himself, it goes without saying, does not believe his own verbal tricks and he even contradicts himself, as we have seen, recognizing that the reader might reproach him for fabricating new dogmas foreign to the Bible and the fathers.
Just how far from the truth his references to St. Gregory of Thessaloniki [Palamas] are can be seen from the explanation of another respondent, who demonstrates that Bulatovich distorted the Orthodox doctrine of Palamas, inasmuch as his first anathema is directed against those who recognize the energy of God not as divine but as God Himself, that is, who identify it [the energy] with the essence of God. Why has Fr. Bulatovich done all this? Why has he brought so many sins and divisions into the Athonite brotherhood? Why did he dishonour and expel the Abbot of the St. Andrew Skete, Fr. Ieronim? Or did he not know the 121st rule of the Nomocanon, which says of a monk who dishonours the Abbot, even justifiably: "may he be cursed, for he is separated from the Holy Trinity and has gone to the place of Judas"? Alas, one is forced to accept the thought that Fr. Bulatovich’s intended purpose was precisely dissension and expulsion while compiling his erroneous books, full of clear distortions of sacred words and known to be full of false interpretations of them.
However, in order to verify his possibly more honest conviction, let us pose the question as follows: perhaps Bulatovich has been so carried away by that which he has received from Schemamonk Ilarion and by his own reworked idea that for its sake he decided to garble passages from the Bible and fathers.
His doctrine consists of the following positions. In God not only His Essence is divine, but His energy as well; the energy is every word of God and every action; the name of God is also His energy (energy means will or power); it follows, according to Bulatovich’s words, that the name of God and every word of God is not only divine, but is God Himself. This is allegedly the teaching of St. Gregory of Thessaloniki. In actual fact the teaching of Saint Gregory condemns those who speak in this manner, as did the Barlaamites,* opponents of St. Gregory, who requires that one call the energy of God not God, but rather divine and to refer to it, not as God but as "divine" or "Divineness" (theotis, and not thos. This excerpt is distorted by Fr. Bulatovich on p.106).
Let us return now to Bulatovich’s very doctrine: to what is he leading his blind followers? He says on page 5 that the word of God on Mt. Tabor, that is, calling Jesus the "Beloved Son," and the rest, is also God Himself, as a verbal action of God; in like manner every God-revealed truth, addressed to people by the Holy Spirit is God, for they are the verbal action of the Divinity. Our author repeats this absurdity more than once: see pages 22, 23, 26, 101, and 106, where it is openly said that every word of God "is God immutable, existing and living," and even cites St. Symeon the New Theologian on p.107, where nothing of the sort is said. Fr. Bulatovich even more frequently repeats a passage from St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, as usual completely distorting its thought. Here are the words of St. Tikhon: "the great name of God includes within itself His Divine attributes, incommunicable to any creature, but to Himself alone, such as: consubstantiality, eternity, omnipotence, goodness, wisdom, omnipresence, omniscience, righteousness, holiness, truth, spiritual essence, etc." Then our author, in his dishonest habit, cries out: "listen to what the holy God-pleaser says, that the Name of God is spiritual essence, and not an abstract idea." The God-pleaser says nothing of the sort, just as he does not say that the name of God is allegedly itself omnipresent, omniscient, etc.: he says that the word "God" includes in itself the thought of all the attributes of God, of His righteousness, His spirituality, etc., but is not at all righteousness itself, or spirituality itself. Our author simply distorted the thought of the patristic sayings, changing the accusative case of the word: spiritual essence to the nominative. St. Tikhon here enumerates all the attributes of God taken from the Catechism (Spirit, eternal, all-righteous, omniscient, omnipresent, etc.) And he affirms that when we mention the name of God, we should express a pious faith in the Divine attributes, which are revealed in the holy Gospel and other books of revelation. Therefore, Fr. Bulatovich several times falsely accuses St. Tikhon entirely erroneously, as if he considered the name of God to be a spiritual essence. Let us return, however to the question of what is the fundamental thoughtlessness or the fundamental falsity of Fr. Bulatovich? In that the energy of the Divinity or the will of the Divinity is not that which the Lord did or the words that He pronounced. The energy and will of the Divinity have divineness (although without being God), but the works of the Divine energy and of the Divine will are not the same as the energy of God: Divine activity may be called God’s energy, but God’s words and God’s creation—these are works of Divine activity, of Divine energy, and not energy itself. It is this that Fr. Bulatovich, overlooked in his ignorance, or which he, in his cunning desired to over-look. If every word spoken by God and every one of His actions is God Himself, then it follows that everything seen by and tangible to us is God, and that is, pagan pantheism (and not "panteistism," as Father Bulatovich expresses it in his ignorance, repeating the misprint in Russki Inok). Fr. Bulatovich affirms this absurdity without any shame he says that every word spoken on Mt. Tabor is God. It follows that the word "hear" is God and the word "whom" is God. The Saviour denounced contemporary moralistic Jews, saying to them "serpents, generation of vipers." Does it follow that serpents and vipers are God? According to Bulatovich, this is certainly the case, doubly so, inasmuch as the serpent, and the hedgehog, and the rabbit are created by God, and are the activity of the Divinity and does it not follow that these animals are also God? Hindu pantheists, incidentally, teach this, and worship as gods crocodiles and apes and cats. Could it be that Fr. Bulatovich desires to draw Athonite monks to such insanity? What led him to this point: ignorance or cunning? He has no small share of ignorance. What sort of thoughtlessness does he commit, for instance, in stating, "The Lord revealed Himself with the namesake of His name on the cross"? Who is not the namesake of his own name? This is like saying "wooden wood" or "oily oil." One could say that the Lord revealed Himself as identical with the content of His name, as "Saviour" (although this occurred not only in the hour of crucifixion, but in all the days of His earthly life). But to say "the namesake of the name" is to speak without any sense. Further, on p.10, the author applies the Trisagion to the Person of Jesus Christ; but the Armenians were expelled for this, and the holy Church teaches us to apply this hymn to the Most-Holy Trinity. Simply put, Fr. Bulatovich is very poorly versed in both theology and grammar. Even if he were totally illiterate, however, it would seem impossible for him to affirm and thrust upon the fathers such absurdity, as he has, asserting that every word and action of God is God Himself.
Sometimes Fr. Bulatovich himself looks on his absurd invention and tries to correct it, but he is unable to accomplish this. On p.41 he says "However, these divine attributes—consubstantiality, eternity, spiritual essence, etc.—we do not ascribe to the letter, with which we express Divine truth, but only to the very word of truth." What then? For a word itself consists of letters and sounds. "Therefore," Fr. Bulatovich continues, "when we speak about the name of God, having in mind the essence of the Name itself, by which we name God, then we say that the Name of God is God Himself; but when we have in mind the letters and sounds by which we orally express the truth about God and the Name of God, then we say that God participates in His Name" (cf.pp.78, 79, 88, and also p.101). What does the author wish to express in this incomprehensible phrase? Does he wish to say something or simply to confuse, to obscure the thought of his credulous teacher, so that he, reading these lines, would say: "Well, glory to God, here we are deifying neither sounds nor letters, but something else that I cannot understand." Indeed no one can understand, we would add, because it is impossible to understand such nonsense. Logic distinguishes the essence of a thing from its phenomenon (although this, too, is rather vague), and a natural scientist would tell you that sounds are something audible, but that their essence is a vibration of the air and its impact on our eardrums; lightening is a visible phenomenon, but its essence is the release of electrical energy or power.
But what is the difference between a name and the idea or essence of a name? Any educated person would offer the response that the idea of a name is its thought (for instance, the name "Andrew" contains within itself the idea of manliness, and the name "Agapia," the idea of love), and the essence of the name is understood to be that person to whom it is assigned. But Fr. Bulatovich does not wish even to hear such answers. He is indignant with those who "dare to equate the divinity of the name of God with the simple idea of God and who see in the name of God nothing but sounds" (p.152).
Perhaps, in the end, Fr. Bulatovich equates the wonder-working power of the name of God with the devout feeling of the person at prayer, for whom the Lord who is invoked, settles in his heart? No, he alleges that the name of God maintains its wonder-working power even when pronounced unconsciously. See, for instance, p.89 of his book: "Even if you call upon the name of the Lord Jesus unconsciously, you will nonetheless have Him [present] in His name with all His divine attributes." What does it mean to say that one will have Him? We try to understand our new philosopher, but he again repeats: "although you call upon Him as a man, nonetheless you will have in the name of Jesus all of God" [or the whole fullness of God].
In other passages, equal to this in their absurdity, Fr. Bulatovich ascribes wonder-working power to the name of Jesus alone, as a sound, even without the prayerful entreaty of the one pronouncing it; distorting, as is his custom, the words of Christ. Fr. Bulatovich puts the following promise in Christ’s mouth: "When, after the resurrection from the dead, I send to you the Comforter, then you will no longer call upon Me, that is, you will not be in need of My intercession, but it will be enough for you to ask in My Name, in order to receive that which you desire from the Father. As such, He here demonstrates the power of His Name, inasmuch as one will neither see nor ask of Him Himself, but will only name His name. It will do such deeds" (p.44.). The Lord did not teach the Apostles and never spoke such things. He said "I will see you again" and "In that day you will ask nothing of me" [Jn 16:22–23]. Fr. Bulatovich boldly asserts "to question" [voprosite] (in Slavonic) is here in place of "to ask" [poprosite], but in so doing he tricks the simple-minded reader, for the Lord continued the discourse with the following words: "Truly, truly I say to you, if any one ask anything of the Father, He will give it to you in my name. Hitherto you have asked nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (Jn 16:23–24).
May one think that Fr. Bulatovich is mistaken through ignorance, or is one forced to the conclusion that he is an ignorant deceiver? For the moment, it is left to the reader to decide. Bulatovich simply mocks the reader: announcing that it is not the sounds and words themselves that have divine power, but only its idea. It follows from Bulatovich’s falsified saying of the Lord (cf.p.46) that even an unconscious and prayerless pronunciation of His name is wonder-working. But our author, in other places in his book, either forgets about his fabrication of a magical significance of the name of God, or thinks that the reader has forgotten about it. After the introduction of some patristic sayings, it is clear that we must call upon the name of God with a prayer united in faith and zeal.
He cites the words of Chrysostom as follows: "We have a spiritual exorcism: the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the cross... If many have pronounced this exorcism without however receiving healing, then this was because of their lack of faith, and not from the powerlessness of the pronounced name." This thought is continued in the author’s exposition of the further words of St. John Chrysostom on the remainder of p. 60 of his book; the same thoughts are found on pp. 64 and 66 in excerpts from Sts. Diadokhos, John of the Ladder and Gregory of Sinai, the Elder Paisy Velichkovsky (p.77), and Fr.John of Kronstadt (p. 81). All these excerpts witness that the Jesus Prayer and every calling upon His name is salvific only under the condition of devout faith, unceasing prayer, humble-mindedness, and fasting. Under the influence of these correct thoughts, Fr. Bulatovich himself utters the following on p. 69: "without heartfelt feeling the practice of the Jesus Prayer and of lifeless prayer may be called sinful."
This correct wisdom, however, is not long remembered by the author in the continuation of his book. In any case, it does not seem occur to him, for as we have already seen, in the same place, (on pp. 14 and 15,) he attempts to demonstrate that the name of God pronounced without faith shows wonder-working power. On p.19, after some cited words of Kallistos, he quotes the words of Scripture: "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved" (Rom 10:9–10); here again we see the necessity of heartfelt faith when calling upon the name of the Lord. However, in the third chapter the author forgets all this and indignantly says that "the imebortsy [name deniers] deny the evident truth in the Holy Scripture that miracles were performed by the divine power of the name of God and dare to assert that it was not by the power of the divine name [alone] that these miracle were performed, but by God Himself, and that the name of the Lord served only to call upon God as an intermediary power." He especially likes to cite the healing of the lame man in the third chapter of Acts and, in particular, the words of the Apostle: "His name has made this man strong whom you see and know" (cf.,esp. p.7); but, in continuing his false and heretical method, does not complete the passage, which reads further, "and the faith which is through Him has given the man this perfect health and in the presence of you all" (verse 16).
One sees how hard it is for Fr. Bulatovich to part from the world-view of the Khlysts, according to whom words, acting magically in distinction from faith and virtue, lead us to the Divinity. In actual fact, if the name of Christ, called upon independently of faith and piety, could work miracles, then that about which we read in Acts would never have occurred: "And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul so that cloths or belts were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded" (19:11–16).
You see, the apostles’ items, touched with faith, although without calling upon the name of God, served for healing, but the unworthy calling upon the name of the Lord did not achieve any benefit. Our author asserts, entirely wrongly, that the Lord and the Apostles performed miracles only by the name of God. It is true that frequently both the Lord said only: "I command you, I tell you", (without any name), and the Apostles said: in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I say to you", etc. But the Lord also frequently performed miracles in silence (walking on the water, the healing of the woman with an issue of blood, the healing of Malchus’ ear, the miraculous catch of the fish, and many others), so too did the holy Apostles perform healings and miracles without always pronouncing the Lord’s name. Sometimes they did so in silence or pronouncing other words. Such were the exposing of Ananias and Sapphira, the healing of Saul, where the name of Jesus Christ was not used by Ananias (9:17), and similarly, the healing of Aeneas by Peter. This contradicts the absurd affirmation of Fr. Bulatovich on p.42, which we have cited above. Similarly the resurrection of Tabitha, the healing of Elymas’ blindness by Paul (13:11), and the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands upon the newly-baptized Ephesians (19:6). Paul’s immunity to the viper is another example. None of these events are compatible with Fr. Bulatovich’s superstitious doctrine about the magical significance of the name of God and that all words and acts of God are God. This last false teaching relates him with the Buddhists, and Hindus and the previous ones with Kabbalists. While contradicting the words of Divine Scripture with every step, he strengthens his superstition with the teaching of Kabbalism which, not being able to deny the miracles of Christ and not wishing to accept faith in Him as God, ascribe His miraculous power to the magical action of the name of God, claiming that He stole it from somewhere. Our author dedicates pages 99 and 100 of his book to a description of such Kabbalistic superstitions.
We will not specifically examine the most absurd of all the absurd chapters of Fr. Bulatovich’s book, the one in which he attempts to interpret all our divine services and the entire Psalter as expressions of faith that the name of God is God. There is not one single such saying in our services, or in the Psalter, or in St. Athanasius’ commentary on it. Of course our divine services, as with all words of prayer, are a constant calling upon God, and this naturally makes frequent use of His name. However it should be noted that in the Lord’s Prayer as it was given to us by the Lord, unmasks Bulatovich for there is no naming of God as "God,, or "Lord," or any of the other Hebrew names of God, so beloved by our new philosopher. Suffice it to say that the majority of our hymns, prayers, and exclamations are formed from passages from the Psalms and [Old Testament] prophetic hymns, and therefore one can sometimes find in them expressions specifically from the Hebrew scripture: "the name of God" and "the name of the Lord" in place simply of "God" or "Lord." The reader versed in the Psalter who looks through the excerpts from the divine services in Bulatovich’s book will be assured that nearly all, or even all, the cited excerpts from our divine services are borrowed from the sacred books of the Hebrew Scripture or Old Testament.
Let us ask, in the conclusion of our analysis of Bulatovich’s book: Is there in the fathers even a single expression that supports this book’s teaching that the name of God is allegedly God Himself? Not a single one. In order to render its author silent, let us examine those few passages that might appear to be such to the unwary reader.
On p.35 the words of the Blessed Theophylact are cited, in which he explains the equality of the apostolic expression "to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ" with Christ’s commandment to "baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The Blessed Theophylact writes: "The Holy Church conceives of the indivisible Holy Trinity; thus following the unity of the three Persons in essence, those baptized in the name of Christ are baptized in the Trinity, inasmuch as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are indivisible in essence. If the name Father (in St. Theophylact, "of the Father") were not God, and the name of the Son were not God, and if the name of the Holy Spirit were not God, then it would follow that to baptize in the name of the name of Jesus Christ, would be to baptise only in the Son. But he, Peter, says: in the name of Jesus Christ, knowing that the name Jesus (not "Jesus," but "of Jesus") is God, equal to the Name of the Father and the Name of the Holy Spirit." This passage from St. Theophylact is meant as an explanation: the name of Jesus Christ signifies the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father and the Spirit, and therefore it would be the same to baptize in the name of either the Holy Trinity or [to baptise] in the name of Jesus Christ. This is not at all what Fr. Bulatovich is doing in reworking the words of this holy Father.
I would add from myself that, the Apostle Peter baptized these people, as well as all the others, in accord with Christ’s commandment expressed in these words: "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," but in this discourse he did not explain these words to them, as they would not have been able to comprehend the fullness of their meaning.
The second passage upon which Antony Bulatovich so falsely puts hope belongs to St. Gregory the Sinaite: "Prayer is the preaching of the Apostles, immediate faith, active love, knowledge of God, the joy of Jesus, and what more may one say? Prayer is God, acting all in all, for which Father and Son and Holy Spirit are one activity, all acting in Christ Jesus."
This is a poetic expression in which the word "is" takes the place of saying "is ranked," "is nourished," "attains," etc. A similar turn is found throughout ecclesiastical poetry: "Jesus, all-miraculous, amazement of angels; Jesus, all-glorified, strength of kings; Jesus, all-pure, chastity of virgins." Does it follow that one can say that the chastity of the righteous is not a condition of the soul, strengthened by grace, but is itself God—Jesus? Likewise, would not one say that the strength of a pious king is a condition of his reign strengthened by Christ’s power, but it is not Christ Himself? Is not this passage on prayer exactly the same? Prayer is one of the subjects of apostolic teaching and the fruit of the sincere adoption by the believing heart of a Christian. By prayer one attains immediate, that is, living, faith and active love and the knowledge of God. This is both the fruit of the source of knowledge for those being perfected; our prayer is the joy of Jesus Christ, and our joy for Jesus Christ. Warm, grace-filled prayer gives us God, acting in us, not only in the Holy Spirit, who, according to the Apostle, teaches what one should pray for (Rom8:26), not of the Holy Spirit alone, but the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity in full, for the actions of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are one action. There is no deification of prayer here and no support for the newly-minted superstition, for here it is not said that prayer is God, but rather that God is acting in us, "giving prayer to the one who is praying," as it is said in the scriptural song of St. Hannah, which is sung in our canons (1Kings 2:9).
The lies that Bulatovich has contrived are those swept away like cobwebs. He has served the glorious name of Jesus in his evil-pursuit as corruptly as have the Jesuits who have given His name in the wickedness of their extraneous earthly ends.
If we were to attempt to expose every one of Bulatovich’s absurd thoughts which contradict the teachings of faith and healthy thought, there would be no end to this examination. One question remains: what led him to such a mental quagmire: a passion for false thought combined with obstinacy, or extraneous vainglorious ends? As much as one would like to give an affirmative response [i.e., to find some excuse for] the first part of the question and a negative one to the second, it is very difficult to do so. His judgments are too absurd and uneducated to believe in the sincerity of his errors. If we add to this his furious agitation, his incitement of the brothers of several monasteries, his crude disobedience to the great authority of that holy and spiritual man, the late Ecumenical Patriarch, Joachim III, then an even more sorrowful answer suggests itself. For he spread the rumour among the simple and childishly credulous Athonites that the Great Patriarch was allegedly bribed, that his letter was spurious, not signed by him.
In the present time the newly-elected Patriarch Germanos and the entire Holy Synod of the Great Church have unanimously affirmed the condemnation of Bulatovich’s book with its new teaching as well as Schemamonk Ilarion, and excommunicated all those who hold this teaching. They have pointedly agreed with that which the late Patriarch Joachim III of blessed memory had already done. May God grant that reason and conscience awake in the founders and followers of this new superstition and that they will show repentance for their errors and for causing stormy scandals and monastic rebellion in the monasteries of Holy Athos. They could [through repentance] demonstrate that they were not evil deceivers who "walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error, and perish in Korah’s rebellion" (Jude1:11), but rather repentant sons of the Heavenly Father, Who is ready to say of them: "this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found"(Lk15:24).
Original Russian text translated and published in Vladika: The Life of Blessed Antony Khrapovitsky, Metropolitan of Kiev, by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, Synaxis Press, Dewdney, British Columbia, Canada, 2009.