Athos letterheadSource: Orthodox Ethos

An “Open Letter” from Athonite Fathers to the Holy Community of the Holy Mountain of Athos is calling for an immediate convocation of the governing body of Mt. Athos in order to condemn the “false council” of Crete and cease the comemoration of the Patriarch of Constantinople on Mt. Athos.

OVER 60 Hieromonk and monks, with a disciple of Saint Paisios, Elder Gabriel of the Kelli of St. Christodoulos (Holy Monastery of Koutloumosiou) at their head, have written an open letter to the Holy Community of Mt. Athos calling upon the Abbots to reject the Council in Crete and stating their intention to cease commemoration of the Patriarch of Constantinople on account of his leadership in the “false council” at which the pan-heresy of ecumenism was given a green light and bolstered in word and deed.

The Athonite Fathers briefly list 12 points of divergence of the Cretan Council from Orthodox Tradition and Faith, promising to return in the near future with an extensive analysis of council and texts in question. Referring to the controversial section 6 of the text “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World,” the Athonites see this as acceptance of the Papal-Latin parasynagogue as a “church”. Furthermore, as they point out, the text’s positive estimation of the decisions of the Dialogue with the Latins (especially the texts produced in Munich in 1982, Bari in 1987, New Valaam in 1988 and most particularly in Balamand in 1993) signifies acceptance, on the part of those bishops who signed the text in Crete, of the “ecclesial character, apostolic faith, authentic mysteries and apostolic succession” of the “Papal heresy.” “From this alone,” the Fathers write, “it is apparent that this Council has fallen away from Orthodox Faith and Confession.”

With regard to the role played by the Patriarch of Constantinople in the promotion both of “the pan-heresy of ecumenism and in particular of the false council of Crete,” and the need for the Athonite community to cease his commemoration “until such a time” as the heresy is condemned, the Athonite Fathers write characteristically:

“The Patriarch of Constantinople stands as the chief inspirer and promoter of the Synodical text and as such for us Athonite Fathers, but also for all Orthodox Christians, priests and laymen, he has been shown to be, in word and deed, a Heresiarch, as once was Arius, Nestorius, Bekko, etc., as distinguished clergy and theologians have clearly demonstrated. This is the case not only on account of [his promotion]of the pan-heresy of Ecumenism but also on account of [his promotion]of the Pan-thriskeia [religious sycretism], shown in and word and deed and through common prayer [with non-Christian religious leaders]. He teaches strange dogmas, unorthodox and anti-patristic, and thus, for this reason, according to the words of our Lord, “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they known not the voice of strangers.” (Jn. 10:1-5)

In conclusion, the Athonite Fathers write:

“Holy Fathers, the Orthodox Church and Orthodox Christians have been declared undesirable and singled out for harassment. Already at the heretical false council of Crete all those Orthodox Christians who stand opposed to it and reject it, whether they be bishops, priests, monks or laymen, were characterized as “heretics,” “zealots,” and “hyper-Orthodox.” Will we allow this false characterization to pass into the popular conscience? With much humility, fear of God and love for our Orthodox Church we entreat you and ask that we may all stand together so that a truly Holy and Great Orthodox Council may be called in order to reject this false council [of Crete].

Venerable and Respected Fathers of the Holy Community, Holy Abbots, 100 years of extremeoikonomia and tolerance of the ecumenist, latinizing, unionist Patriarchs and bishops has brought about a terrible erosion of faith and fed heretical deviations. The damage and corruption which has been brought about by this falsely-called “oikonomia” in the mindset of the Orthodox clergy and laity is of astounding proportions. We entreat you once again: struggle to guard the Holy Deposit of our Orthodox Church and Faith.”

The full letter in the original Greek can be found here:



  1. This article is VERY misleading; it does not represent Mt. Athos officially; it was signed by 60 monks; there are more than 2,000 monks on the Athonite peninsula. Archdeacon John Chryssavgis, who was very active in the work of the Council on Crete has written the following to clarify the matter a little further for people:

    “Sometimes, a little clarification is helpful. It is important to note that, while some Athonite monks may express opposition, the Holy Community as a whole has actually supported the council. The Ecumenical Patriarch invited the Holy Mountain to send a representative to Crete as part of the formal delegation (as an advisor) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate — precisely because the Patriarch welcomes and respects the opinion (and, perhaps especially, the prayer) of the Mountain. In response, the Holy Community, which comprises representatives of all the monastic institutions on Mt. Athos, officially appointed a delegate to the Holy and Great Council. Thus, the Very Rev. Archimandrite Tikhon, Abbot of Stavronikita Monastery – and, it might also be noted for those who like to compare and compete among the saints [!], a disciple of St. Paisios – attended the Holy and Great Council, and was even asked to advise the participant bishops on a couple of occasions. His considerate and compassionate counsel reflected the moderate and balanced nature of genuine Athonite monasticism. So the Holy Mountain was not only supportive, but even present at the Holy and Great Council, at the express invitation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.”

    • Barsanuphius IX of Belgrade (Montana) on

      Fr. Steven points out that although the “Open Letter” was “signed by 60 monks…there are more than 2,000 monks on the Athonite peninsula.” And Archdeacon John Chryssavgis states: “It is important to note that, while some Athonite monks may express opposition, the Holy Community as a whole has actually supported the council.” Who, pray tell, surveyed those “more than 2,000 monks”? And exactly how was that accomplished–knocking on cell doors, mailing surveys to individual monks, hovering over each monastery in a helicopter and seeing how the audible yay-or-nay group responses registered on the Samsung 5000-LX Audio Response-o-Meter?

      • The response above is facetious at best; malicious at worst; and inaccurate either way. The simple fact remains that Mt. Athos was included in the process of the preparations for the Council and, as part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, had an official representative at the Council designated by the Holy Community – the representative body of all the monasteries of Athos. The input of the Holy Mountain was sought and given. Mt. Athos, as a whole, was supportive of the work of the Council and participated in it.

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