To His Eminence, Metropolitan Vitaly (Oustinov), First Hierarch of Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, a true Orthodox Bishop of our days, this work is dedicated with daughterly affection by the Author.

Many phenomena of our departing twentieth century are taking place under the sign of falsehood, under the sign of counterfeit "virtue". Ecumenism, anathematized in 1983 by the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, has in our days become the great evil, the heresy of heresies. From then on, as has been repeatedly pointed out by the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, the anathema has confronted the conscience of the Orthodox who have been drawn into the world ecumenical movement.

In Russia, thanks to the parishes of the ROCA and their publications, Ecumenism is perceived as something absolutely unacceptable, and dangerous to the Orthodox faith. Not so in the West. Every time when the Orthodox criticize Ecumenism, our heterodox brothers are either baffled by our "arrogance", "conservatism", "intolerance", or they even accuse us of hardheartedness. For them Ecumenism means, first of all, love, unity of all in love... (We are speaking of the sincere heterodox Christians, not of those who work for the creation of the apocalyptic church, "the great whore", and who are well aware of what they are doing in the name of Antichrist).

According to the Apostle, when protecting the purity of Orthodoxy, we are "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4, 15). Truth is our language of love in Christ. We, Orthodox Christians, shall not ask in the manner of Pilate and his falsely-wise compatriots, "what is truth?" We know that our Lord Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life" (Jn. 14,6).

Orthodoxy, according to Greek and Slavonic etymology of the word, is the right, correct faith by means of which we glorify God. Wherein then are we right? Our rightness lies in the faithful safeguarding of everything that the Lord bequeathed to His disciples. For two thousand years the Orthodox Church has been faithfully guarding the Apostolic succession, the Holy Tradition. We do not presume to change anything in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are not adapting Him to ourselves [1] in accordance with the "spirit of times", the spirit of this world.

Our Church knows that It has no right to dilute the purity of the God-given teaching by perilous false doctrines and heresies for the sake of imaginary unity. It cannot accept the teaching of Catholics who had the audacity to change the dogma of the Holy Spirit (filioque) in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (despite the fact that not one iota may be changed in it), and who, persisting in this heresy have eventually added other false teachings as well. Orthodox Christians find it unthinkable to unite with the Protestants who do not venerate the Mother of God, who do not recognize the Holy Tradition and the authority of the Church Fathers, and reject saints in general. We cannot be one with those who reject veneration of holy relics and holy icons, i.e. those who abide in the heresy of iconoclasm condemned and anathematized by the Seventh Ecumenical Council. We cannot pray with Monophysites, who for fifteen hundred years have adhered to their Christological heresy. And, finally, we want to distance ourselves from all those who undermine the very foundations of Christianity with their impious innovations.

To preserve means "to protect". The canons of the Orthodox Church protect Its sanctity. Thus, according to the Apostolic Rules 45 and 65, bishops, presbyters and deacons who had merely prayed together with heretics, or who had entered a Jewish "or a heretical" synagogue to pray, are deposed from office, and lay people are excommunicated from the Church. The Canons 6 and 33 of the Council of Laodicea forbid heretics not only to be present in churches, but even to enter them. These and the other Canons guard the Orthodox Church from heretical encroachment upon It and are indeed strict. After all, any custodian who is boarding a treasure must be vigilant and strict. Strictness does not mean cruelty. While protecting our most precious treasure -- the holy Orthodoxy -- we are far from feeling arrogance and insensibility of which we are accused. Nor is hardheartedness the reason for our resistance to Ecumenism.

In our daily private and communal church prayers we implore the Lord "to calm the strife amongst Churches" and "to return onto the path of truth and salvation those who have gone astray from the Orthodox faith". We pray that those who have fallen away from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, would repent and return to It. The union of all in truth and love is a sincere hope of Orthodox Christians.

Those of our heterodox brothers and sisters who were brought up in traditions alien to Orthodoxy and who are attracted by the beauty of our Church, should know that the truth and grace are both a guarantee and the cause of this unearthly beauty. Let them not be troubled when they learn from the pages of this book that almost all Local Orthodox Churches (or their hierarchies, to be more precise) are involved in Ecumenism under the leadership of the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow. Having violated the sacred Canons, they have fallen away from the fullness of Orthodoxy. However, they do not constitute the entire Church. "The Church is where the Orthodox faith and life according to this faith are being preserved unimpaired" [2].

The Church is made up of those Greeks, Russians, Americans, Rumanians, Bulgarians, Serbs, French and the other Orthodox people of different countries, who have one spiritual Homeland in common -- the holy Orthodoxy. The Church consists of all people who faithfully preserve the purity of our faith, such as was handed down to us by the Holy Apostles and Church Fathers. The salt of their pure faith is the salt of the earth. "The Church is the divinely established community of people united by the Orthodox faith, the Law of God, the hierarchy and the Sacraments" (Metropolitan Philaret /Drozdov/, "Comprehensive Christian Catechism..."). If we acknowledge as our hierarchs the apostates who confuse the Faith with the false faith, who have sacramental communion with the anathematized heretics, and who instruct the people to do likewise, does this not place us outside the Church walls and in danger of being separated from the Source of eternal life?

We believe that God will grant the spirit of repentance to those who strive for true Orthodoxy and that He will guide them along His own chosen path to the only sacred refuge. And the Orthodox Church will accept them with love.

Beyond the visible beauty of the Orthodox Church there lies the beauty which, according to F.M. Dostoevsky, will "save the world". Only the Church, which truly loves Christ, is capable of resisting Antichrist whose coming is close at hand, and of saving from him.

Nearly seven years have passed since "Ecumenism -- the Path To Perdition" was first published in Russian. It is a very long period of our accelerated apocalyptic time which is rushing towards its end... As we observe what is happening now, we may ask if already our everyday life, with its eschatological events unfolding at an insane pace against the background of destabilized elements, if this life is not also the fulfillment of things foretold in the Holy Scriptures and other prophecies.

In "The Post-humous Prophecies of St. Nilus the Myrrh-bearer" we read: "A day will be like an hour; a week like a day, a month like a week, and a year like a month, because man's cunning caused the tension of the elements, and they, too, began to hasten in their endeavor to complete, as soon as possible, the number foretold by God for the eighth age."

Acceleration of time which we are experiencing, is caused by the speeded-up total apostasy from God: this apostasy of the future, which only recently was still an abstract concept, has become our sinister reality, a "symptom of the end".

In the course the 90-ies, the apostasy of ecumenical churches, headed by the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow, has acquired a candidly impudent character. This is evidenced by the documents of the unions concluded with heretics and enemies of the Orthodox faith -- Monophysites and Catholics -- by numerous articles and papers, Patriarch Alexius' II "pilgrimage" to a synagogue, public radio and television appearances of the "Orthodox" apostates, as well as the resolutions of the Council of Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate (1994).

Unrepentant apostates in mitres and bishop's mantles, having become accustomed to the sin of betraying Christ, have cant aside the previously used demagogic devices. Before us we now have undisguised apostasy, insolently declaring "salutary lies" and the propriety of ecumenism in the past, the present and the future [3]. The apostasy of the Moscow Patriarchate and of the local churches -- members of the World Council of Churches (WCC) -- who cooperate with it, is unnoticed only by those who for their sins have been deprived by the Lord of the ability to discern spirits. This spiritual blindness has struck millions who see a "proof" of their case in numbers.

This apostasy is not limited to words only. Heretical bishops in power and apostates of all persuasions and at all levels have become persecutors of Orthodox Christians. As before, they lean on the naked power of the prince of this world -- on police, the detachments of the Special Purpose Militia (OMON), or simply the hired killers. It is sufficient to recall the acts of violence against the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA), and the seizure of their churches in Moscow, Petersburg, the district of Novgorod, Oboyan, Valishchevo and in the other cities and villages in Russia, which take place with the blessing of the pseudo-Patriarch Alexius II and the pseudo-bishops of the MP, and which in no way differ from the crimes being committed by the Uniats against the Orthodox in South-Western Russia.

Open persecutions of Orthodox Christians who do not want to walk "in the counsel of the ungodly" disprove the deceitful speeches and appeals to the all-embracing love and tolerance so much liked by the ecumenists. Was it not "love" and "tolerance" which the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomeos, a fervent ecumenist, and his accomplices demonstrated in the spring of 1992 when they forcefully seized the skete of St. Elias (jurisdiction of ROCA) on Mt. Athos, which belonged to Russians since times immemorial, and expelled its resident-monks for their faithfulness to the Canons of the Orthodox Church?!

Along with violence against and persecution of Christians we are witnessing the effects of "tender iniquity" (St. John of Shanghai and San-Francisco). The seducers of the church people have developed their own universal language, and their own ecumenical tactics of lies and compromise. The ecumenical love, tolerance and respect are shown not only to the "traditional" distorters of Holy Scripture and the abusers of the Holy Fathers. The apostates have opened their arms to embrace the overt idolaters and magicians (through whose "purifying fires" they are not averse to walking occasionally), as well as perverts -- sodomites and lesbians, whose "masses" they attend and advertise with deference in their own publications.

Almost the entire world is in the grip of evil and madness. Hell has moved so close to us as never before. We have entered a prolonged Passion Week. Terrified we are witnessing the "constant mockery, spitting at, and crucifixion of Christ" (Justin Popovich). All those who feel compassion and love for Christ are called upon to confess their faith. We have no other way, the we are under siege -- "They compassed me about, yea, they compassed me about; but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them" (Ps. 117,11)

Only a handful of those who loved the Savior huddled at the Cross on which He suffered. Similarly, now, 2000 years later, there has remained in the world a little flock of Christ, dispersed throughout many countries, but still faithful to the Lord Who had promised not to leave them orphaned "for the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance" (Ps. 93,14).

Firmly believing in the Lord's promise "I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Mt. 16,18) we trust that "even in the terrible times which the Church is now experiencing, when It seems to be perishing under the onslaught of the enemy, the Lord proffers It His help and saves It from ruin" (Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev).

For the sake of our contemporary confessors of Christ and those who sincerely try to understand the present situation of the Church, we have undertaken the present work and also its translation into English.

Although the author is well aware of her unworthiness, she takes the liberty writing on the apostate ecumenism while relying solely on the teaching of the Church and on facts, refraining, as far as possible, from personal conjectures and evaluations. We found a prerequisite for this inspired daring in the words of our God-loving compatriot, Alexei Khomyakov, concerning obligation of every member of the Church to defend It when needed, inasmuch as the Church has no official advocates [4].

The translation of the first version of "Ecumenism...", made by Olga I. Koshansky in Australia, prompted us to completely revise the original, and to actually write a new work. The present text is approximately five times the size of the previous one and presupposed a great deal of work on the translation which, without fault or reproach, was executed by O. I. Koshansky. Some of the numerous notes and references, this book within the book, with which we have supplied and documented our text, were translated by Dimitri M. Hintze who had also kindly agreed to offer advice in the process of reading the English manuscript. To both of them we are deeply grateful for the work done.

We sincerely acknowledge invaluable comments and cooperation offered by Archdeacon Germain Ivanoff-Trinadzaty, Dr.phil. (Lyon, France).

Without the participation of those whose unselfish and constant help, advice, spiritual guidance and prayers supported us, this book would have simply remained unpublished. In the first place it concerns Fr. Archimandrite Alexy (Makrinov) who not only guided the author but also substantially supplemented many chapters.

Ludmilla Perepiolkina, Dr. phil.

[1] See Archimandrite Justin Popovich, "Pravoslavnaia Tserkov' i Ekumenizm" (Orthodox Church and Ecumenism), publ. by the Hilandari Monastery, The Holy Mount Athos, Thessalonica, 1974. Here and further on we quote from the abridged and amended translation from the Serbian, Moscow, 1993, p.2.

[2] Archpriest Lev Lebedev, "Pochemu is pereshel v Zarubezhnuiu chast' Russkoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi" (Why I joined the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), Montreal, Brotherhood of St. Job of Pochaev, 1991, p. 30.

[3] See "Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. Documents, 29 November - 2 December 1994". Moscow, MP, Publ. "Khronika", 1994, p. 26 a. o.

[4] The idea expressed by A.S. Khomyakov more than one hundred years ago has today acquired particular significance, and deserves to be quoted in full. "When an
entire country is being calumniated, private individuals who are the citizens of this country have an unquestionable right to defend it, but they have just as much right to face the slander in silence allowing the future to exonerate their homeland... Not so in the matters of faith or the Church. Being the revelation of Divine truth on earth, the Church, in its very essence, is intended to become the common homeland for all people, and It does not permit any of Its children to remain silent in the face of slander directed against It, and aimed at the distortion of Its dogmas and principles... The only sword which It (the Church - L.P.) may use... is the word. For this reason every member of the Church not only may by right respond to slander to which It is subjected, but is obliged to do so. Silence, in this case, would be a transgression not only against those who have the happiness to belong to the Church, but also, and even to a greater extent, against those who could have been blessed with the same happiness, if false concepts would not have deflected them from truth. Every Christian, when hearing of attacks against the faith he confesses, is obliged to defend it to the extent of his abilities and without waiting for a special sanction, because the Church does not have any official advocates". A.S. Khomyakov, "Theological Works", Prague, 1867, v. II, pp. 31-32. The above quotation is taken from A.S. Khomyakov "Neskol'ko slov pravoslavnago khristianina o zapadnykh veroispovedanijakh" (A Few Words of an Orthodox Christian concerning Western Confessions).