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Η ΤΡΙΑΔΟΛΟΓΙΚΗ ΚΑΙ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΟΛΟΓΙΚΗ ΑΙΡΕΣΙΣ ΤΩΝ ΝΙΚΟΛΑΙΤΩΝ (ΥΠΟ ΣΤΑΥΡΟΥ ΜΑΡΚΟΥ)

The Holy Fathers On the Relation Between the Holy Trinity and the Church


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Introduction

In 1976, the blasphemous Bishop Nicholas of Piraeus, secretly betrayed his Apostolic Succession by using the so-called "cheirothesia" as a basis for his "canonicity" in a court case in the Piraeus Magistrate. This blasphemy was uncovered by an archenemy of the Church, the Florinite spy, Calliopius Giannakoulopoulos in 1997. This secret blasphemy caused scandal and the Holy Synod prepared to officially condemn it and ask Bishop Nicholas to openly repent and retract his statement. However, Bishop Nicholas replied that he could not reject the so-called "cheirothesia" because "this is how we are recognized by the State." Immediately, the internal and external enemies of the Church sided with Bishop Nicholas of Piraeus and decided to help him "remove the fanatics from the Synod," and by this, they meant Metropolitan Cerycus of Mesogaea, Metropolitan Panaretus of Larisa, Fr. Amphilochius Tambouras and theologian Mr. Eleutherius Goutzides. Therefore, in the official Florinite periodical, an article was published in which Mr. Eleutherius Goutzides was accused of "heresy," for stating the following introduction to a speech in 1978:

"Today I will not speak about the first beginningless, eternal and invisible Church, because this is the perfect Communion of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is the complete and perfect communion and undivided unity of the three divine Persons, of the One God."

Bishop Nicholas then began an open campaign against theologian Goutzides, as well as against Metropolitan Cerycus and several other hierarchs and clergy and theologians, based on his opinion that the above statement is a "heresy." This entire campaign on the part of Bishop Nicholas was purely to cover up his own blasphemy of 1976 against his own Apostolic Succession, and in order to prevent the Holy Synod from making a definitive decision regarding the so-called "cheirothesia." Unfortunately, Bishop Nicholas began to succeed in his campaign, and in 2002, instead of being deposed for his blasphemy, he convinced Archbishop Andrew to resign, promising him to agree with certain consecrations if he did so. Then, although Bishops Galaction, Cerycus, Tarasius, Gorgonius and Panaretus, and Priests Amphilochius, Thomas, Cyprian, Damascene, Andrew, Seraphim, John, Basil, Arsenius, Michael, Ignatius and Eustathius, and deacons John and Bartholomew, had protested against the resignation of Archbishop Andrew, Bishop Nicholas nevertheless proceeded with his own election and enthronement as Archbishop!

Following this, the new false Synod of "Archbishop" Nicholas not only Synodically dogmatized its position that the above statement of Theologian Eleutherius Goutzides is "heretical," but this Nicholaitan pseudo-Synod also officially and synodically declared that the so-called "cheirothesia" of 1971 was real, and that it actually did take place, and that the Holy Synod willingly accepted the ROCA Act of 1971, even though the text of this act was not even known to the Holy Synod, as it was concealed, and even though the Holy Synod only accepted the so-called "cheirothesia" with the notion that it was a "prayer of absolution," as read upon penitants, and was not an actual "cheirothesia" as if read upon schismatics.

The purpose of the current article is to prove that the above theologoumenon by theologian Eleutherius Goutzides is not at all "heretical" but is rather based on Orthodox theology, soteriology and ecclesiology, and is founded on the Gospel itself and the writings of the Holy Fathers. Among the sources that are the foundation of this theologoumenon are the following: Christ Himself, as spoken in the Gospel according to St. John; St. John the Theologian in his First Epistle; St. Paul the Apostle to the Nations in several of his Epistles; St. Clement of Rome in his Second Epistle; St. Hermas in his Shepherd, St. Clement of Alexandria in his Pedagogy; St. Basil the Great and St. John the Theologian in their Divine Liturgies; St. Epiphanius of Salamis in his Panarion; St. Cyril of Alexandria in his Commentary on the Gospel of John; St. Maximus the Confessor in his Mystagogy; St. Photius the Great in his Thesis on the Book of Genesis; and most recently, by a modern father of the Genuine Orthodox Church, namely, Metropolitan Epiphanius of Citium, in his book, A Few Things Regarding the Church Calendar, Larnaca, 1998.

Below we present the relevant quotes from the above sources, which prove that the statement by Eleutherius Goutzides is not at all a heresy, but on the contrary, anyone who calls it a heresy, is himself guilty of heresy.



1. From Our Lord's Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Gospel According to St. John):

"Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are... That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me... And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:11,21-23,26)

In the above it is quite clear that Christ is teaching that the bond of love between His Father and Himself is the same bond of love which he expects between His disciples. Thus even the Gospel declares that the Church's bond of unity and love is an icon of the bond and unity of the Holy Trinity. Christ uses these very words "that they may be one, even as we are one." What clearer definition can there be other than this one declared by the Lord Himself? But Archbishop Nicholas has officially declared this a "heresy." Apparently it is "heretical" to identify a similarity between the bond of love in the Holy Trinity, with the bond of love within the Church. Is Christ a heretic?



2. From the First Epistle of St. John the Theologian:

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." (1 John 4:7).

The above is a clear example of how members of the Church loving one another are an example of God's love, "for love is of God." This love allows us to be born of God and even know God, meaning that we will know the uncreated love and grace that is shared between the Three Persons of the Triune God. By saying "for love is of God," the Apostle is also declaring that the same uncreated love and power which pours forth from the unity of the Holy Trinity is also present as the binding force between the members of the Church who love and know God. Archbishop Nicholas denies this teaching of the Holy Fathers, the Apostles, and Christ himself!



3. From the Epistles of St. Paul the Apostle of the Nations

In his epistles, the Apostle Paul refers to a “Mystery” existing before the creation of the world. For instance:

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a MYSTERY, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained BEFORE THE WORLD unto our glory.” (1 Cor 2:7,8)

“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the MYSTERY, which was kept secret SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN.” (Rom 16:25)

The Holy Apostle Paul then elaborates on this same “Mystery” that was from the BEGINNING, by stating that it has now become MANIFEST as the spiritual connection between Christians, and it is the presence of Christ within each soul. Thus the Apostle Paul writes:

“Even the MYSTERY which hath been hid FROM AGES AND FROM GENERATIONS, but now is made MANIFEST to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this MYSTERY among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:26,27)

This “Mystery” which existed “before the world began,” and was hidden “from ages and from generations” and is also now made “manifest,” and which exists as “Christ in us,” is exactly what the Holy Fathers have always used to refer to the CHURCH. In other words, this MYSTERY is the CHURCH! The Apostle Paul even refers to this Mystery as the Church in the following passage:

“This is a great MYSTERY: but I speak concerning Christ and the CHURCH.” (Eph 5:32)

In the above passages, it is clear that the Church is a Mystery that existed before the creation of the world. This mystery was hidden from the world, just as Christ was hidden. This mystery was also “made manifest to the saints” in the same way Christ became manifest through the Incarnation, and took on the flesh, and from invisible became visible. To deny the fact that the Church is a mystery existing prior to the foundation of the world, and to deny that this same Church became manifest through the incarnation of Christ, is a denial of the Orthodox ecclesiology and soteriology!



4. From the Second Epistle of St. Clement of Rome:

“Wherefore, brethren, if we do the will of God our Father, we shall be of the first Church, which is spiritual, which was built before the sun and the moon; but if we do not the will of the Lord, we shall be of the scripture that saith, My house was made a den of robbers. So therefore let us choose rather to be of the Church of life, that we may be saved.” (2 Clement 14:1)

In the above quote, St. Clement, Bishop of Rome, in his letter to the Corinthians, clearly defines the Church as existing “before the sun and the moon.” This is biblical terminology for “before the creation of the world.” In this quote, St. Clement of Rome mentions a “First Church.” This First Church is called “spiritual” and it existed not only before Pentecost, but even before Adam, and before the world was even created. What “first Church” could exist BEFORE creation? Is this “first Church” not the bond of love and grace of the Holy Trinity, which alone can be distinguished from creation, but at the same time is not any of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, but is rather the uncreated grace, love and energy of God, existing eternally with the Holy Trinity?

And again, St. Clement writes:

“And I do not suppose ye are ignorant that the living Church is the body of Christ: for the scripture saith, God made man, male and female. The male is Christ and the female is the Church. And the Books and the Apostles plainly declare that the Church existeth not now for the first time, but hath been from the beginning: for she was spiritual, as our Jesus also was spiritual, but was manifested in the last days that He might save us.” (2 Clement 14:2).

In the above quote, St. Clement of Rome clearly states that the Church “existed not now for the first time, but hath been from the beginning.” The Biblical terminology “from the beginning” means BEFORE the creation of the world. This pre-existence of the Church is likened to the pre-existence of Christ prior to his incarnation, as the Eternal Word of God. Thus Clement writes “for she [the Church] was spiritual, as our Jesus also was spiritual.” To deny the spiritual, eternal, beginningless nature of the Church (the body), is to deny the spiritual, eternal, beginningless nature of Christ (the head)! Notice that in this passage, Clement also uses “was” to refer to the spiritual nature of the Church and of Christ. This means that neither the Church nor Christ are in spirit alone anymore. After the Incarnation, Christ the Word of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, is no longer only spiritual, but now He is physical too, in having taken upon himself the human flesh. The Church, which is not a person but simply the eternal grace, energy and love of the Triune God, likewise, by the incarnation of Christ, is no longer spiritual, but actually physical also, as this grace too became incarnate in the body of Christ. This body of Christ is transmitted to us by the Immaculate Mysteries, and we therefore become part of this body, part of the Church. To deny any of these points, would amount to a denial of the fundamental Orthodox understanding of ecclesiology and soteriology!



5. From the Shepherd of Hermas

"Now a revelation was given to me, my brethren, while I slept, by a young man of comely appearance, who said to me, "Who do you think that old woman is from whom you received the book?" And I said, "The Sibyl." "You are in a mistake," says he; "it is not the Sibyl." "Who is it then?" say I. And he said, "It is the Church." And I said to him, "Why then is she an old woman?" "Because," said he, "she was built first of all. On this account is she old. And for her sake was the world made." (Shepherd of Hermas, Vision 2:4, Patrologia Grecae 2,899.)"

The above passage indicates that the Church appeared in a vision as an old woman, and that she was "built first of all," and "for her sake the world was made." Thus the Church was not "created on the day of Pentecost" as Metropolitan Nicholas blasphemously prates, but rather has her origins before the creation of the world. Furthermore, according to the above passage, even the world was created for her sake! Obviously the vision of the woman is only a symbolic depiction of the Church, and this is also repeated in the Book of Revelation, where a glorious woman, symbolizing the Church, travails in birth, is threatened by the dragon, but after giving birth she is swept into the wilderness for a time, two times and half a time. But despite the vision of this figure, the Holy Fathers do not consider the Church to be a person or hypostasis. The Church is not any of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, but nor is she any other distinct person. If the Church was built before anything else that came into existence, this means she was the first thing that the Holy Trinity formed. However, the word used here is ἐκτίσθη (ektisthe, built) and not ἐποιήθη (epoiethe, created) and thus it signifies that she was "built" (figuratively, such as an actual church building), as opposed to "created." The Church is simply the love, grace and energy of the Triune God, and thus she is not created from nothing, nor is she formed from the very nature of God, but she is rather "built" from the grace, energy and love of God. This is also echoed by St. Clement of Rome's terminology that the Church "was built before the sun and moon." Again here, the word κτισαμένη (ktisamene, built) is used, and not created. Through the incarnation of God the Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, his divine nature took on the flesh. At the same time, the uncreated grace, energy and love of the Triune God also partook of the incarnation, as the body of Christ, and this is the Church. Through Holy Communion, this body of Christ, the Church, is transmitted to us. The eternal, uncreated power, energies, grace and love of the Triune God enters the members of the Church and they are all made one through Holy Communion. St. Peter the Apostle says, we, the members of the Church, in the form of grace bestowed upon us through Christ, become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).



6. From the Writings of St. Clement of Alexandria:

"Let us hasten to salvation upon the regeneration, the many gathered together in one love, according to the union of the single essence." (Patrologia Graeca, vol 8, pg. 200).

Original Greek text: "Σπεύσωμεν εἰς σωτηρίαν ἐπί τήν παλιγγενεσίαν, εἰς μίαν ἀγάπην συναχθῆναι οἱ πολλοί, κατά τήν τῆς μοναδικῆς οὐσίας ἕνωσιν" (Ε.Π. τ. 8, σελ. 200).

In the above passage, the holy father calls all faithful to unite into one love, according to the union of our common essence. This is what the Church is about. The union of the faithful into one love, the love of God. Just as in the unity of the Three Persons of One Essence there exists love, so should we of one essence (man) be gathered together in this same love. To deny that the love between members of the Church is an icon of the love between the Persons of the Holy Trinity, is a denial of Orthodox ecclesiology and soteriology!



7. From the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom:

"Let us love one another, that with one heart we may confess: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity one in essence and undivided."

In the above, the inspired writers of the Divine and Holy Eucharist clearly remark that we, the members of the Church, must love one another and form one heart, and that only in this sense can we comprehend and confess the unity, coessentiality and indivisibility of the Holy Trinity. This is a clear example of how the unity and bond of the members of the Church are an image or icon of the unity and bond of the Holy Trinity. Thus God the Holy Trinity is the prototype of the Church, the first eternal, uncreated and beginningless Church Triumphant, which we as members of the earthly Church Militant are an icon and image of. Archbishop Nicholas has declared this faith of St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom to be a "heresy." But who is truly the heretic? No one other than Archbishop Nicholas himself, who has trodden on the Holy Fathers!



8. From the Writings of St. Epiphanius of Salamis:

"But after the eighty [sects] there is the one foundation of truth which is as well the doctrine and saving teaching and Holy Bride of Christ, the Church, WHICH IS FROM ETERNITY, but through Christ's incarnation has, in the sequence of time, appeared in the midst of the aforesaid sects." (Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion, Preface I, Haer. 1.156, Chapter 1, paragraph 3.)

In the above, St. Epiphanius refers to the Church as being "from eternity." The Church is not the very essence of God, but it is the uncreated grace and bond of love between the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, and only in this sense can She be understood to be "from eternity." In these last days, "through Christ's incarnation" the Church "appeared in the midst." Thus it is clearly patristic to refer to the Church both as an icon of the uniting bond of love and grace of God the Holy Trinity, as well as referring to the Church as having appeared on earth through Christ's incarnation. Stating that the incarnation is the only means in which the Church can be described, as the new calendarist theologian Hierotheus Vlachos prates, and as Archbishop Nicholas declared in his official synodal decision, is a blasphemy against the Church, and would make the above quotes from the Holy Fathers very difficult to explain. Actually, Archbishop Nicholas's document accuses the above Holy Fathers of heresy!



9. From the Writings of St. Cyril of Alexandria:

"The Lord wishes the disciples to be kept in a state of unity by maintaining a likemindedness and an identity of will, being mingled together as it were in soul and spirit and in the law of peace and love for one another. He wishes them to be bound together tightly with an unbreakable bond of love, that they may advance to such a degree of unity that their freely chosen association might even become an image of the natural unity that is conceived to exist between the Father and the Son. That is to say, he wishes them to enjoy a unity which is inseparable and indestructible, which may not be enticed away into a dissimilarity of wills by anything at all that exists in the world or any pursuit of pleasure, but rather preserves the power of love in the unity of devotion and holiness, which is what actually happened. For as we read in Acts, 'the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul' (Acts 4:32), that is, in the unity of the Spirit." (Cyril of Alexandria, Homily on the Gospel John, The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 128)

Original Greek Text: "Τηρείσθαί γε μην εν τη καθ'ομόνοιαν τε και ταυτοβουλίαν ενώσει βούλεται τους μαθητάς ανακιρναμένους ώσπερ αλλήλους ψυχή και πνεύματι και τω της ειρήνης και φιλαλληλίας θεσμώ, προς αρραγή τινα της αγάπης δεσμόν κατασφίγγεσθαι, ως μέχρι τοσούτου προσελθείν την ένωσιν, ώστε και εικόνα της φυσικής ενότητος, της εν Πατρί και Υιώ νοουμένης, την προαιρετικήν γενέσθαι συνάφειαν, αδιάσπαστον δηλονότι και ακατάσχετον, υπό μηδενός το σύμπαν των εν τω κόσμω πραγμάτων, ήτοι φιληδονιών, εις ανομοιότητα θελημάτων εξελκομένην, διασώζουσαν δε μάλλον εν ενότητι τη κατ' ευσέβειαν και αγιασμόν, ασινή της αγάπης την δύναμιν, ό και γενέσθαι συμβέβηκεν. Ως γαρ εν τας Πράξεσι των αποστόλων ανέγνωμεν, «Του πλήθους των πιστευόντων ην η καρδία και ψυχή μία», εν ενώσει δηλονότι τη του Πνεύματος."

In the above homily, St. Cyril of Alexandria comments on the Lord's prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and says that the Lord desired for his disciples, the members of the Church, "to be bound together tightly with an unbreakable bond of love, that they may advance to such a degree of unity that their freely chosen association might even become an image of the natural unity that is conceived to exist between the Father and the Son." He then continues, "that is, in the unity of the Spirit." This is a clear example of how the Holy Fathers interpret the bond and unity among members of the Church to be an image of the bond of unity between the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For the unity between the members of the Church to be considered the "icon" (image), the unity of the members of the Holy Trinity is considered the prototype.

St. Cyril of Alexandria expresses this more clearly further down in the same homily:

"For in what has gone before we rightly maintained that the union of believers, in concord of heart and soul, ought to resemble the manner of the Divine unity, and the essential identity of the Holy Trinity, and Their intimate connection with Each Other... Taking for granted, then, the physical unity that exists between the Father and the Son, and also of course the Holy Spirit (for we believe and glorify One Godhead in the Holy Trinity), let us further inquire in what manner we are proved to be one with each other and with God, both in a corporeal and a spiritual sense. (Commentary on John, Book 11, Chapter 11.)"

Therefore the belief that the unity of the members of the Church are an image of the unity of the members of the Holy Trinity, is a belief that has been expressed by Holy Fathers such as St. Cyril of Alexandria. "Archbishop" Nicholas refutes the belief that the unity of the Church is an icon of the unity of the Holy Trinity. Not only does he refute it, but he calls it a heresy and has written official synodal condemnations against this belief. He has dogmatized his erroneous opinion, and has therefore turned it into a heresy. In so doing, he has brought destruction upon himself, and upon those who blindly follow him in his newly-created heresy.



10. From the Writings of St. Maximus the Confessor:

"An Icon of the Triadic God is the Holy Church, as she operates the very union among the faithful to God, albeit to those who happen to be of different speech and from different places and customs, according to which [union], by the faith, are made one." (Patrologia Graeca, vol. 91 “Mystagogy,” ch. i, p. 668 B)

Original Greek text: "Εἰκών ἐστί τοῦ Τριαδικοῦ Θεοῦ ἡ ἁγία ᾿Εκκλησία, ὡς τήν αὐτήν τῷ Θεῷ περί τούς πιστούς ἐνεργοῦσα ἕνωσιν, κἄν διάφοροι τοῖς ἰδιώμασιν καί ἐκ διαφόρων καί τόπων καί τρόπων οἱ κατ᾿ αὐτήν διά τῆς πίστεως ἑνοποιούμενοι τύχωσιν ὄντες" (Ε.Π., τ. 91 "Μυσταγωγία," Κεφ. Α, σελ. 668 Β).

In the above, St. Maximus calls the Church an "icon" of the Holy Trinity, insofar as the union of faithful is concerned. But if the Church can be called the “icon” of the Holy Trinity, it therefore means the Holy Trinity can be called the "prototype" of the Church. For that is the very meaning of "icon," that it is based on a “prototype.” Therefore it is not unpatristic to call the Holy Trinity the “prototype” or figuratively the "First Church." By Archbishop Nicholas and his Synod officially declaring that it is "heretical" to call the Church an icon of the Holy Trinity, Archbishop Nicholas and those who support him have officially condemned St. Maximus the Confessor, and have accused him of heresy. In effect, Archbishop Nicholas has condemned no one but himself and his followers, and if there are any heretics, it is not St. Maximus the Confessor, it is Archbishop Nicholas.

And again St. Maximus the Confessor also says:

"By this very means also the holy Church of God is portrayed, as [it is] in God as the archetype, [also] in the very [members] among us as an operating icon… all [members] growing with one another and increasing, according to the one simple and undivided grace and power of the faith…" (Patrologia Graeca, vol 91 “Mystagogy,” ch ii, p. 667 A) "Yet we also acknowledge the unity and distinction between her [the church] and him [God]." (Patrologia Graeca, vol 91 "Mystagogy," ch ii, p. 667 C)

Original Greek text: "Κατά τόν αὐτόν τρόπον καί ἡ ἁγία τοῦ Θεοῦ ᾿Εκκλησία, τά αὐτά τῷ Θεῷ περί ἡμᾶς ὡς ἀρχετύπῳ εἰκών ἐνεργοῦσα δειχθήσεται ... πάντων συμπεφυκότων ἀλλήλοις καί συνημμένων, κατά τήν μίαν ἁπλῆν τε καί ἀδιαίρετον τῆς πίστεως χάριν καί δύναμιν ..." (Αὐτόθι σελ. 665 Γ καί 667 Α) "ὡς τήν αὐτήν αὐτῷ καί ἔνωσιν καί διάκρισιν ἐπιδεχομένην..." (Αὐτόθι Κεφ. Β σελ. 667 Γ). ᾿

In the above, St. Maximus clearly describes God (the Holy Trinity) as an archetype (prototype) of the Church, and the Church as an icon (image) of this archetype. At the same time, St. Maximus notes that this teaching does not hinder our belief in the unity of God and the Church, nor the division or difference that exists between the two. In other words, we are not calling the Holy Trinity "the Church," nor are we calling the Church the "Holy Trinity." Yet we recognize the "unity and distinction" of both.



11. From the Writings of St. Photius the Great:

"...Wherefore, on the one hand, the unity of the Trinity towards itself, it is lawful to say, FORMED A CHURCH [Greek: ἐκκλησιάσασα, i.e. “was congregated”], while on the other hand, it is lawful to say, that, at the moment of the creation of mankind, the term “let us make man in our image and after our likeness,” was bestowed upon created man in oneness of opinion, and thereby the creation of mankind from shattered creation was prepared..." (Homily 9:9)

Original Greek text: "...Διό πρός ἑαυτήν μέν ἡ τῆς Τριάδος ἑνότης, εἰ θέμις εἰπεῖν, ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣΑΣΑ, θέμις δέ τοῦτο λέγειν ἐπί τῆς ἀναπλάσεως, ὅτι τό "ποιήσωμεν ἄνθρωπον κατ᾿ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν καί καθ᾿ ὁμοίωσιν" ἐπί τῆς πλάσεως εἴρηται· τῷ ἐνιαίῳ τῆς γνώμης βουλήματι, τήν ἀνάπλασιν τοῦ συντριβέντος διετίθετο πλάσματος..."

The relevant sentence in the above passage is: "...Wherefore, on the one hand, the unity of the Trinity towards itself, it is lawful to say, FORMED A CHURCH..." The context of the paragraph is in regards to God's united counsel "let us make man in our image and after our likeness." So when St. Photius the Great says "the unity of the Trinity towards itself... formed a Church" he is referring to the united counsel of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Greek word used is "ecclesiasasa" which derives from the Greek word "ecclesia" which can be translated as Church, Congregation, Gathering, etc. Thus it is definitely "lawful to say" according to St. Photius the Great, that the united counsel of the Holy Trinity "forms a Church." By Archbishop Nicholas saying that it is "unlawful" and even "heretical" to say such a thing, he is actually accusing and condemning St. Photius the Great of heresy!



12. From the Writings of Metropolitan Epiphanius of Citium:

"As witnessed by the Fathers, the Church always preexisted in the beginninglessly preexisting eternal Word and Son of God. [The Church] was later revealed through creation, and guides us towards every Truth, towards Salvation and Theosis. Of [the Church’s] existence, brightness and glory, there shall be no end." (Metropolitan Epiphanius of Citium, A Few Things Regarding the Calendar, Second Edition, Larnaca, Cyprus, 1998, p. 1.)

Original Greek text: "῾Ως μαρτυροῦν δέ οἱ Πατέρες, ἡ ᾿Εκκλησία προϋπῆρχε πάντοτε ἐν τῷ ἀνάρχως προὑπάρχοντι αἰωνίῳ Λόγῳ καί Υἱῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀποκαλυφθεῖσα δέ διά τῆς δημιουργίας, ὁδηγεῖ ἡμᾶς εἰς πᾶσαν τήν ᾿Αλήθειαν, εἰς τήν Σωτηρίαν καί Θέωσιν, καί τῆς ὑπάρξεως, λαμπρότητος καί δόξης Αὐτῆς οὐκ ἔσται τέλος." ("ΟΛΙΓΑ ΤΙΝΑ ΠΕΡΙ ΗΜΕΡΟΛΟΓΙΟΥ" Β' ῎Εκδοσις Βελτιωμένη καί ἐπηυξημένη, Λάρνακα Κύπρος 1998, σελ.1.)

In the above text, Metropolitan Epiphanius of Citium and all Cyprus, states that "the Church always preexisted in the beginninglessly preexisting eternal Word and Son of God." Thus he believes the Church is PRE-ETERNAL, having her pre-eternity based on the pre-eternity of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Therefore the Church is a pre-eternal entity, but she is not the very Person of the Word, nor is she any of the other Persons of the Holy Trinity, but she is something else. According to Orthodox Dogmatic Theological, the only Persons who are pre-eternal are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, the grace, energy, power and love pertaining to these Persons and shared by these Persons is also uncreated and therefore pre-eternal. Nothing else belongs to pre-eternity. The angels were all created by God from nothing and therefore have a beginning and are only granted eternity by God's grace. All of material creation, including humanity, is also not pre-eternal because God created the material world from nothing. Therefore, since the pre-eternal Church is not any of the three Persons of the Trinity, and nor is she any of the angelic or material creation, she can only be one thing, and this is the uncreated, pre-eternal, everlasting, divine and sanctifying power, grace, energy, glory, love and unity of the Triune God.

By stating that the Church is not pre-eternal, "Archbishop" Nicholas has blasphemed the pre-eternity not only of the Church, but also of the Eternal Word and of the Beginningless Father and Holy Spirit also. This blasphemy on the part of "Archbishop" Nicholas is quite ironic, because Nicholas may not believe that the Church is pre-eternal, but this is because he is not part of the True Church which is pre-eternal. The "created" church is a reality that is Archbishop Nicholas' own "creation." For by falling into heresy and schism, and by taking many souls with him to perdition, "Archbishop" Nicholas has departed from the Pre-eternal Church of Christ, and has created for himself a personal "church," a created "church," a false "church," a Nicholaitan "church," a sect, a parasynagogue, a schism, a heresy, a severed, lifeless and rotting branch, bereft of the divine and sacramental grace of the Triune God.



Conclusion

After reading, studying, contemplating and commenting on the above quotes from the Gospel, Apostolic Epistles and writings of the Holy Fathers, let us now once again examine the statement made by Eleutherius Goutzides in the introduction to his speech in 1978:

"Today I will not speak about the first beginningless, eternal and invisible Church, because this is the perfect Communion of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is the complete and perfect communion and undivided unity of the three divine Persons, of the One God."

By stating that this theologoumenon is "an ecumenistic innovation and heresy," as Archbishop Nicholas and his false "Synod" had officially declared in their Synodal Encyclical, these false bishops have blasphemed the Holy Trinity and the Church. In dogmatizing their antagonism to the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church, these false bishops have fallen from the Orthodox ecclesiology concerning the Holy Trinity and the Church, which are essential principles of our salvation. For in the Nicene Creed, the Symbol of Faith, we declare that we BELIEVE in one God, the Father Almighty; we BELIEVE in one Lord Jesus Christ; we BELIEVE in the Holy Spirit the Lord the Giver of Life; and we BELIEVE in one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. To diminish the importance of any of these beliefs, or to blasphemously dogmatize against the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, on the one hand, and the Church, on the other hand, would be to deny the very principles of our salvation. It is a denial of Orthodox theology, ecclesiology and soteriology.

A final point: Since Metropolitan Epiphanius of Citium wrote about this theologoumenon in 1998 (quoted in point 12), right at the height of the discussion at hand, when all the slander was being spread that Mr. Goutzides was a "heretic," why was Metropolitan Epiphanius not required to "anathematize" his position or be threatened with excommunication as well, since he even published it recently? Why, instead, did they dig into the archives and use a speech published in 1978 as a means of convicting theologian Eleutherius Goutzides and Metropolitan Cerycus of supposed "heresy"?

Clearly the issue was not regarding "first, beginningless, invisible church," but the real issue was about the so-called "cheirothesia," and the Synod of "Archbishop" Nicholas has not only fallen from their Confession of Faith regarding the so-called "cheirothesia" through their blasphemous Encyclical of 2007, but additionally, they also signed a Synodal Encyclical regarding the "Trinity and the Church" and officially dogmatized their antagonism towards the theologoumenon of the bond and unity of the Holy Trinity as the "First, Beginningless and Invisible Church." The Nicholaitans have thereby not only fallen from the Confession of Faith against Ecumenism, but they have also fallen from the very Theology, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church, and have become heretics.

But can antagonism towards a valid theologoumenon make one a heretic? Not for as long as the antagonism is not dogmatized. But the Nicholaitans HAVE dogmatized their position, which is unorthodox, and, in so doing, they have fallen from Orthodoxy. Together with this, they have also blasphemed against their Apostolic Succession through the so-called "cheirothesia" which they have now declared "real," and by "condemning" it they have brought it from the realm of inexistence to that of reality.

Let us pray for the Nicholaitans to abandon their delusion, schism and war against the Church of Christ, and return to the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece, which is currently presided over by Metropolitan Cerycus.

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