Until now the "Orthodox" ecumenists, while trying to justify their involvement in the World Council of Churches, have constantly insisted on their loyalty to Orthodoxy, on their inviolate preservation of the true foundations of our faith: Holy Scripture and the Sacred Tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church. Falsehood could always be seen through in the hypocritical declarations of these sham "witnesses of the beauty of Orthodoxy", as they liked to call themselves [559].

Their duplicity has now become quite obvious. The Holy Scriptures have been paraphrased at random to please the immediate needs of ecumenism, and all the notorious efforts of the "Orthodox" members of the World Council of Churches to bring about the "reunification of Christians" through the "witness of Orthodoxy" have most perceptibly resulted in the fact that in our days the "counsel of the ungodly" regards the Orthodox Church only as "a part of global Christianity", along with Nestorians, Monophysites, Hindus, Shamans, Judaists, and also Neo-pagans and all sorts of sects -- Moonies, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, Christian Science, Pentecostals, Baptists, atheists and others [560], their name is legion.

But even though they are ranked with this legion, the Orthodox do not enjoy equal status: according to the teaching of the "great reformer John Wesley", the Orthodox Church is declared to be "an example of unbalanced Christianity"! [561]. Criteria of the "New World Ethics" and of the religious pluralism of the "New World Order" are such that, "in a certain sense, Christianity is even an obstacle to the existence of a unified humanity" [562]. It is not without reason that at the Fifth General Assembly in Nairobi [563] the following words were uttered: "We cannot permit our faith to be the cause of discords and enmity which threaten to break up the united human family" [564]. And it is no mere chance that the speculation of Lutheran evangelist Gerald Barney that "Christianity will be unable to exist in future", expressed by him in 1993 at the "Congress of Religions" in Chicago, was met with ovations... [565]

For a long time the apostates were afraid to openly support the most fearless assaults mounted from within their ranks upon the Patristic Tradition and the Church canons. This fear has now been cast away. Ecumenism now manifests itself as the most unruly syncretism and the heresy of all heresies. It is obviously not afraid of being exposed by this world of apostasy, by the world which has lost the ability to discern spirits and which is rushing to meet its ruin.

The Orthodox Christians who have courage to oppose ecumenism, are, with an ever increasing persistence, pronounced to be "schismatics" worthy of condemnation... It is not this "little flock" of Christ, however, but the disseminators of pernicious innovations and their collaborators, no matter how numerous, are the real schismatics, for they are "in disagreement with the totality of the Tradition, teaching and discipline of the Orthodox Church" [566].

The contemporary "Orthodox" apostates are in disagreement with Christ's disciples -- the Holy Apostles, in particular with the 10th, 45th, 46th, 65th, 70th Apostolic Rules, with a whole series of canons of the Ecumenical Councils and of Holy Fathers, as well as «with the 2,000 years history of the Church Tradition, which the Holy Spirit has impressed with His indelible Seal of Sanctification, because "God's grace is immutable."» [567] Since they are in conflict with this Tradition, they "reject the blood of martyrs and of Holy God-bearing Fathers", and inasmuch as they take the liberty to lift Church anathemas, they are guilty of blasphemy "because they assume that the infallible Church consciousness could be mistaken." [568]

The Orthodox Christians, who in our age of disbelief have preserved the living flame of Orthodoxy as their principle of faith and life, are entitled to address the following question to the contemporary apostates: "The sacred canons instilled by the Holy Spirit into the God-bearing Fathers, the latchet of whose shoes we are unworthy to unloose, are they valid, or invalid in the Orthodox Church? Yes, or no? And if they are invalid, one should in all dignity and boldness name the instance above the Ecumenical and Local Councils which has adopted this new decision? Because it would be the height of hypocrisy on the part of bishops, who at their consecration had vowed to unfailingly observe the Canons, to shamelessly defy them in practice to the great amazement of the rest of the faithful!" [569]

Temptation evoked by the false hierarchs today is a terrible crime and sin. The Lord referred to it saying: "But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" (Mt. 18, 6-7) These words of the Savior are addressed to each one of us, and therefore, if we see that a bishop has no fear of God, then by obeying him we disobey the following instruction of the Holy Scripture: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5, 29). The Lord also teaches that if any person does not obey the Church, then "let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican" (Mt. 18, 17).

As we observe the apostasy of hierarchs everywhere, let us recall the words of the holy Hierarch Gennadius (George prior to tonsure) Scholarius the Patriarch of Constantinople (1459-1456): "Test your bishops in only one respect: try and find out whether they are Orthodox, whether they teach dogmas contrary to the true Faith, and whether they concelebrate with heretics, or schismatics." [570] And, as St. Nicephorus says, even if false hierarch, while being in heresy, "will succeed in deceiving and enticing a certain number of ignorants and in gathering even a considerable number of followers, then they are outside the sacred walls of the Church just the same. But even an insignificant number of the faithful, who abide in piety and Orthodoxy, constitute the Church; they have the authority and they defend the established order of the Church. And if they should suffer for true piety, then this will undoubtedly contribute to their eternal glory and salvation of their souls." [571]

There is no time left for keeping silent. We are now living on the threshold of the reign of Antichrist, when almost all people have deviated from truth. A truly inhuman assault is directed against the Church of Christ, the Holy Orthodoxy, in order "if it were possible... to deceive the very elect" (Mt. 24,24).

Let us be inspired by the deeds of the holy confessors who were chosen by God in the most difficult times experienced by the Church. They defended the truth of Orthodoxy sometimes remaining alone against all others. But God was with them: "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" (Ps. 118,6)

The holy martyrs of the first centuries of Christianity, on whose blood the Holy Church was founded, and later a host of martyrs and confessors, who defended the purity of the doctrine from heretics, should all inspire us with their example, and they are always ready to come to our aid -- sometimes in an obviously miraculous manner -- whenever we turn to them with prayer.

In the Life of the Holy Hierarch Basil the Great [572] we read that while he prayed before the icon of the Mother of God and of the holy great martyr Mercurius for the Church and people to be delivered from the blasphemer and persecutor of Christians, the impious Emperor Julian the Apostate, the latter was suddenly killed in the battle with Persians by an unknown warrior who pierced him with his spear and immediately became invisible. At that very time Saint Basil the Great had noticed that the image of St Mercurius disappeared from the icon for a while and then appeared again holding a blood-stained spear. "This miracle, then, became manifest because due to the prayers of St. Basil the Great, the All-holy Theotokos Herself sent this pleaser of God and of Herself, the victorious great martyr Mercurius, from the triumphant Church to the militant Church... for the defense of the holy faith and of Orthodox Christians." [573]

One may be inspired and strengthened by exploit of St. Maximus the Confessor (+622, commemorated Jan. 21), who refused to partake of the Holy Communion with a heretical Patriarch, "even if the whole world were to take the Communion with him." [574] This holy Father remained firm in his confessing his convictions even after he was severely beaten by the Monothelite heretics. They subsequently cut off his right hand and tongue in order to prevent the saint from confessing the truth, either by writing, or in words.

St. Martin the Confessor, the Pope of Rome (+655, commemorated April 14) was also disgraced, beaten up and exiled, when he alone opposed the Monothelites who had seized power.

Let us also remember the lonely confessors, holy brothers -- Theophan, the author of canons (+ca. 847, commemorated October 11) and Theodore the Branded (+ ca. 840, commemorated December 27). Their faces bore inscriptions pricked out with needles and branded with hot iron, accusing them of being venerators of icons. Their sufferings lasted many years and, although mutilated and exhausted, they continued their fight against heretics at a time when the entire secular and ecclesiastical power was in the hands of their enemies -- Iconoclasts. According to the Church, these confessors, through their holy efforts, "shed light over heretical darkness" having dispersed "clouds of heresy".

St. Theodosius of the Kiev Caves Lavra (+1074, commemorated May 3) in his "Testament" to the Great Prince Izyaslav of Kiev (10541068) whom the Papists attempted to convert to Catholicism, preached as follows: "Beware, my son, of heretics and all their talking, for our land too, has become filled with them! If anyone will save his soul, it will be only through life in the Orthodox faith. For there is no better faith, than our Holy Orthodox faith. My son, it is not meet to praise another's faith. Whoever praises an alien faith is like a detractor of his own Orthodox faith. If anyone should praise his own and another's faith, then he is a man of dual faith and is close to heresy. If anyone should say to you: "your faith and our faith is from God", you, my son, should reply: "Heretic! do you consider God to be of two faiths? Don't you hear what the Scriptures say: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4,5).

Thus, my son, beware of such people and always stand up for your faith. Do not fraternize with them, but avoid them and pursue your own Faith with good deeds!" [575]

While calling upon the Prince to observe confessional strictness, St. Theodosius, nevertheless, instructed him to show Christian charity and compassion to people of other faiths who fell into misfortune or were in need of some help in life. With regard to the defense of Orthodoxy from its enemies, the Saint said: "My son, even if there would be the need for you to die for your holy Faith, dare to embrace death! Thus the Saints died for their Faith, and now they are alive in Christ." [576]

What can the contemporary "Orthodox" supporters of Union with the Vatican set off against the twenty-seven Martyrs of Zographou (commemorated Sept. 22)?! These Athonite monks had denounced Emperor Michael Paleologus and Patriarch John Vecca (11th c.) for joining the Latins, and preferred to be burned alive rather than become participants in their apostasy.

St. Mark of Ephesus (+1444, commemorated January 19) [577] was the only non-compromising defender of Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence (1439) who did not sign the Union. His lone voice predetermined the destiny of Orthodoxy. Alone against many, deprived of his rights and confined in a fortress -- against those enjoying power, respect, wealth, and freedom, against high clergy and the Emperor himself... And he will emerge a conqueror, for the invincible Truth is with him; one can hide it under a bushel, but the time will come, and it will rise in all its splendor. [578] St. Mark was, undoubtedly, aware of this and hoped, as George Scholarius said, "to conquer all his opponents by the power of Truth alone." [579]

The whole Orthodox Church, in the person of the Emperor, Patriarchs, Metropolitans and other high representatives of the Church, had administratively signed the Union with the Latins. However, as subsequent history showed, all their signatures meant nothing: the absence of St. Mark's signature doomed the Union to failure. When the cardinals of Pope Eugene IV triumphantly showed him the Act of the Union which was signed by the Greeks, the Pope asked whether Mark of Ephesus has signed it, and not finding his signature, the Pope said... "So, we have not achieved anything!" [580]

At the Council of Constantinople in 1450, during the reign of the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX, in the presence of three Eastern Patriarchs, the Uniate hierarchs were deposed, and the Council of Florence was anathematized. Three years before its fall, the Byzantine Empire rejected the shameful Union, and honored the memory of St. Mark, Metropolitan of Ephesus, the confessor and fighter for the Orthodox faith.

"This mortally ill, exhausted hierarch, disgraced by the powerful ones of this world, was the spiritual leader of Orthodoxy, who represented the Orthodox Church, strong in its weakness, rich in its poverty and invincible in Divine Truth." [581]

The greatness and invincibility of the Orthodox Church has been demonstrated by the martyrdom of hundreds of thousands of holy New Martyrs of Russia. "On the territory bearing the devilishly shrill name USSR, there existed Russia. It was the unseen Russia. Its presence was known only to those who were meant to know: the inhabitants of this land themselves and its enemies." [582] During hard times, which were fiercely cruel for both Russia and the Church, there appeared fearless exposers of the godless regime and confessors of Christ. In the wake of October Revolution, as in the first centuries of Christianity, the true Church has preserved its spiritual freedom in catacombs, prisons, and concentration camps, regardless of any persecution and repressions. The militant Church of the holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, countless hosts of them, from the Tsar to pauper and infant -- the entire Holy Russia "came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7,14), -- is the true Homeland of the Orthodox Russian people.

In these frightful times, the Orthodox Russian people should remember their holy compatriots and draw inspiration from their example. "May this great miracle, the miracle of the holy relics of so many New Martyrs in the Russian land, who now abide in Christ, inasmuch as they had rejected any compromise, may this miracle impart to Russian people the strength to reject ecumenism and the reforms of Orthodoxy which are now being prepared in Rome, Geneva, and Constantinople. The true essence of Russia is Orthodoxy; its true history is the history of its saints, who in the course of centuries have sanctified it and preserved it in Christ and for Christ by their victorious deeds." [583]

In our spiritually frightful times we see the apparent triumph of "the church of the wicked". But, according to Apostle Paul "where sin abounded grace did much more abound" (Rom. 5,20). One should not be troubled by the fact that not many good shepherds are left and that there are only few of those faithful to the precepts of the Holy Church. "Let not your heart be troubled and in fear!", wrote Metropolitan Innokenty of Peking (+1931), "True worshippers of the Lord were few at all times. He Himself was abandoned even by His true disciples: and He Himself foretold that at the end-times love would grow cold and people would be at war not only with each other, but also with God Himself. Truth never had numerous followers; they always were and will be persecuted. Neither fame, nor wealth is their lot in this world, but the way of the cross. But only in this way can they reach the Kingdom of God. Whoever believes in God, need not fear the sons of this world. If Christ is within us, who is against us! With Him we are given victory over the world." [584]

As we see temptations and enmity surrounding Orthodoxy everywhere, let us strive, with God's help, to oppose them. The Church, as the provider of our salvation, cannot bow before the "wickedness of this world". It is guided by the Spirit of Christ, and is made invincible through His power.

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory over their enemies to Orthodox Christians, and protect Thy people with Thy Cross.

[559] One rarely notices that declarations of "Orthodox" ecumenists, as a rule, contain two contradictory, as well as hypocritical, theses. For members of their own Churches are, apparently, intended the obligatory assurances that "participation of Orthodox delegates in the WCC should be viewed as a mission and witness about the truth within the heterodox world". The ears of their heterodox "brethren", however, are obviously meant to hear the words about "the WCC having always condemned all forms of proselytism". Both phrases are uttered at practically all ecumenical gatherings. In this case they are taken from the informative communication of 17 April 1997 concerning the Inter-Orthodox Consultation in Antelias (Lebanon, 13-15 December 1996), which took place under the chairmanship... of Armenian (!) Catholicos, Aram I of Cilicia.

[560] See Collection, published by the Parliament of World Religions, ed. Joel D. Beversluis, "A Sourcebook for the Community of Religions", Chicago, Illinois, 1993, pp. 50-51, 91-108. It is interesting to note that the cover of this book displays a combination of the symbols of 14 religions: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, "nameless religion" (symbolized by an empty circle), Zoroastrism, Jainism, Shamanism, Sikhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Taoism and Bahaism.

[561] Quoted from: Michael Woerl, "Ekumenizm, novyi vek i Parlament mirovykh religii" (Ecumenism, New Age and Parliament of World Religions), Orthodox Russia, No. 1512, 1/14 June 1994, p. 10.

[562] Hieromonk Ignatii, "Mirovoi Sovet Tserkvei. Obmanchivyi oblik sovremennago ob'edinitelnago dvizheniia v khristianstve" (The World Council of Churches. The Deceptive Face of the Contemporary Unifying Movement in Christianity), Orthodox Russia, No. 1239, 15/28 January 1983, p. 16.

[563] The very name of this ecumenical gathering -- "Breaking Barriers" -- points at its objective: to abolish the boundaries of what is permissible, to transgress them by opening the door widely to all kinds of evil beliefs, heresies, false teachings and schisms. Like all masonic projects, ecumenical plans are worked out for a long time ahead, in order to gradually destroy the boundaries set by God, "do not change the boundaries set as of old by our fathers" (comp. Ps. 103, 9).

[564] See the Collection: "Breaking Barriers", Nairobi 1975. The Official Report of the Fifth Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Nairobi, 23 November - 10 December, 1975. Edited by David M. Paton. Published in collaboration with the World Council of Churches, by SPCK, London WM. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids. Quoted from: Hieromonk Ignatii, "The World Council of Churches, p. 16.

[565] "Divisions and Controversy Mars World Parliament", in: Christian News, 1993, p.15.

[566] Monk-zealot Theoklitis (Germanos) in Protestations Orthodoxes ..., p. 65

[567] Ibid. p. 66.

[568] Ibid.

[569] Metropolitan Augustine of Florina "Letter to Patriarch Demetrius" Quoted from: Protestations Orthodoxes ..., p. 52.

[570] "Patriarchs' Opinions about the Latins" in the collection "Protest of the Orthodox World...", p. 67.

[571] Ibid.

[572] "If it were not for Basil, -- says the Church historian Sozomenos -- the heresy of Eunomios would have spread as far as Taurus, and the heresy of Apollinarius -- from Taurus to Egypt." -- The Lives of Saints by Dimitri of Rostov. "The Life of St. Basil the Great, January 1".

[573] Ibid., see 1 January and 24 November.

[574] See "Chet'i Minei", 21 January.

[575] I.P. Yeremin, "The Literary Heritage of Theodosius of the Kiev Caves Lavra", TODRL, 1947, vol. 5, p. 171-172.

[576] Ibid.

[577] Archimandrite Ambrose, the author of the unique book about Bishop Mark of Ephesus, points out that, according to irrefutable proof, St. Mark's date of repose should be considered June 23, 1444 and not 1452 as it is mistakenly alleged by some authors. "Their allegations are both unsubstantiated and erroneous" -- says Archimandrite Ambrose (Pogodin). See Archimandrite Ambrose, "Sviatoi Mark Efesskii i Florentiiskaia Unia" (St. Mark of Ephesus and the Union of Florence), The Printing Press of St. Job of Pochaev, N.Y., 1963, pp. 365, 433.

In this connection it is necessary to point out an error which year after year is repeated by the Moscow Patriarchate in its Pravaslavnyi Kalendar' (Orthodox Calendar) with respect to the date of repose of St. Mark of Ephesus: MP names the year 1457. See the already mentioned Calendar, 19 Jan / 1 Feb.

[578] Archimandrite Ambrose, "St. Mark of Ephesus...", p. 308.

[579] Ibid., p. 314.

[580] Ibid., p. 309.

[581] Ibid., p. 309.

[582] A. V. Belgorodskaia, "Potaennaia Rossija" (The Unseen Russia), Orthodox Russia, No. 565, January 1997, p. 1

[583] Pere Patric Ranson, Protestations Orthodoxes..., p. 10.

[584] The collection of the Russian St. Elias Skete on Mt. Athos "The teaching of the Orthodox Church concerning the Holy Tradition and its Attitude to the New Style", The Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y., USA, 1989, p. 39.