Defining how one falls away by heresy
Address by our First Hierarch
translation provided largely by Vladimir Djambov, Sister Church Bulgaria
To those who believe in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church
I spoke at our inter-meeting in Greece saying that we should clearly define who it is who falls away from the Church in cases where heresy is manifested inside the Church. This proposal was reflected in the final document, but perhaps was not articulated well enough. Because today this question is quite relevant, I'll try to explain it again here:
According to the 15th Rule Second Council: "For someone separating himself from communion with a bishop, for the sake of some heresy condemned by holy Councils, or Fathers, when the bishop publicly preaches heresy and teaches it openly in the Church, such ones even if they wall themselves off from the heretic bishop even before conciliar examination; then not only are they not subject to the rules of penance, but also worthy of due honor among the Orthodox. For they have not condemned the bishops, but false bishops and false teachers, and have not split the unity of the Church, but rather they have tried to keep the Church from schisms and divisions." That is, one should protect oneself from heresy. One should wall himself off from prayer and Eucharistic communion with those who preach heresy. To not do this, is to be guilty of heresy on par with the heretics. "The bishop or presbyter, or deacon who simply prays with heretics, let him be suspended. But if he perform any services as a clergyman with heretics, let him be deposed" - 45th Apostolic Canon.
If the Primate of the Church or the Synod of Bishops preaches a heresy that has been condemned by the fullness of the Church, the duty of every bishop, priest or layman to publicly declare the deposition of the heretical Synod and its Primate, and unconditionally cease with him in prayer and communion. That bishop, priest or layman, who, understanding the essence of the issue, did not do so, joins himself with the lie and is equally guilty with those who proclaimed the heresy. Such a one is no longer in the Church of Christ, as he is a heretic himself.
St. Basil the Great wrote: "If anyone claims to practice the Orthodox faith, but is in communion with those who are contrary to the Orthodox faith, if he does not cease his communion with those who are contrary to the Orthodox faith, then they should not even be considered brothers."
If the MP Patriarch Kyrill, in the "joint statement" signed in Havana, declared heretics-papists his brothers and did not impute their numerous heresies to them, and the MP synod did not reject his pernicious delusion, then Patriarch Kyrill and the Synod of Bishops witnessed to their involvement in all the heresies of the papists. Because they did not stop their prayerful and Eucharistic communion with the heretics, they are also blameworthy for these Latin heresies. Even though they themselves might not openly confess these heresies - by their common prayer and communion they are all united.
Thus, to the heresy of ecumenism and the sin of Sergianism, leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate and has added the Latin heresy with all its variety. Nepominovenie, or not naming the Patriarch before and after the Liturgies, does not mean discontinuation of prayer and eucharistic communion with him. That is rather just a form of protest. It does not eliminate eliminate unity with the God-opposing lies.
+ Metropolitan Agafangel
Odessa, May 20 / June 2, 2016