Ojciec Nikita Palassis 1913-2017 (eng.)

21 stycznia 1968 roku ojciec Nikita Palassis (1913-2017) pożegnał się z konstantynopolskim patriarchą-ekumenistą. Jego pożegnalny tekst został opublikowany w dwumiesięczniku ojca Serafina (Rose) The Orthodox Word.
Z tego tekstu chciałbym zacytować kluczowe słowa ojca Nikity:

„Być częścią cerkwi która staje się rzymsko-katolicka w swym zarządzaniu, protestancka w swej wierze i grecko-prawosławna w swych obrzędach – to nie dla mnie. Choć obecnie Prawosławie wszędzie otrzymuję uznanie jako „czwarta główna religia”, to jednocześnie traci swój prawosławny charakter.”

„Being part of a church which is becoming Roman Catholic in its  administration, Protestant in its faith and Greek Orthodox in its ritual is not for me. While Orthodoxy is being rapidly recognized as a “fourth major faith” it is simultaneously losing its Orthodox character.”

The text of his sermon is reproduced as it appeared in “The Orthodox Word,” 1968 Vol. 4, No. 1 (18), pp. 37-40. The title, introduction, and concluding paragraph are from the editors of that journal.

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ORTHODOXY IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD

A VOICE OF CONSCIENCE IN THE GREEK ARCHDIOCESE

To the voices of protest from within the Church of Greece and the Russian Church Abroad over the increasingly flagrant apostasy of Patriarch Athenagoras and Archbishop Iakovos is now added a voice from a representative of the best element within the Greek Archdiocese
itself. Fr. Neketas Palassis, well known as a conscientious and
popular priest in the Greek parish of Seattle, where he has served for
eight and one-half years, has worked against obstacles from above in
his attempt to preach genuine Orthodoxy within the bounds of the Greek
Archdiocese. Having found this to be no longer possible, he sets forth
the issues well in his farewell sermon to his flock, the major part of
which is here reproduced.

FAREWELL SERMON OF REV. NEKETAS S PALASSIS, PRESBYTER OF ST. DEMETRIOS
GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH, SEATTLE

JANUARY 21, 1968

….The time has come and is here when certain statements must be made
without hiding and without compromise; statements which must be
understood as expressing love of Christ and His Holy Church and of the
Truth which He represents and is.

We are witnessing in our times that of which our Lord spoke in the
24th chapter of St. Matthew. He says that in those days God’s obvious
enemies will be those who appear as friends of God, as Christians
without being so in truth. It is from them that Christ wishes to
preserve the faithful, because His enemies will be able to deceive
many by their manner. The very Orthodox Christian faith in these later
days is being attacked by those who should be its defenders and
spokesmen. For these people Orthodoxy is irrelevant and anachronistic;
it is one of many religions with little spiritual value or depth for
them. They enjoy its external trappings of vestments, music,
architecture and art and find themselves untransformed by its message.

The Orthodox Christian faith is to me of incomparable value. It is not
an item to be bartered, debated, and finally compromised on the
ecumenical altar of humanistic and anthropocentric love which excludes
truth and real divine love. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in His
love for us gave us the Church as “the pillar and foundation of truth”
(I Timothy 3:15) “with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but
holy and faultless” (Ephesians 5: 27). I cannot conceive how it can be
offered on the altar of ecumenical dialogue to be dissected and
autopsied for the sake of some abstract “love.”

On July 25 I received a letter from Archbishop Iakovos (prompted by
letters from Seattle) asking me to “repent” concerning statements I
had made in regard to the theological views of the Patriarch
[Athenagoras] and the Archbishop. Their statements which have been
made on various occasions indicate that they feel Orthodoxy is not
“the pillar and foundation of truth,” but one of many confused
denominations seeking truth. They maintain that only when all the
various confessions are united into some sort of ecumenical hodgepodge
will we have the complete truth. Then, somehow, all of mankind’s
problems will be on the road to solution. As for the teaching of the
saints and fathers of the previous centuries, they are found to be
without “love” and “understanding” because they insisted on truth
within the Church. The Orthodox concept that in order for one to be a
theologian one must love God, pray, fast, meditate, participate in the
sacraments and attempt to transform oneself inwardly and thus effect
an outward transformation, is evidently unknown to our leaders. They
advise us to change our theology and then all our problems will be
resolved. Their motto is “a changing theology for a changing world.”

I do not find these viewpoints of the Patriarch and Archbishop as
being representative of what our Church teaches and believes.
Therefore, I did not offer my “repentance, correction and placement
within the framework of serious and responsible Greek Orthodox
ministry” as asked by the Archbishop. I had not and have not said
anything contrary to Orthodox teachings.

Our leaders attack the theologians as being guilty of preventing the
much-desired union of the churches. But if the theologians who study
God and who have spent their lives in prayer, fasting, and spiritual
edification offer their objections to union without dogmatic
agreement, then how can our leaders say that a union can be
accomplished without dogmatic and doctrinal agreement? A united
church, the type our leaders advocate, in which each one will maintain
his own separate and conflicting dogmas, cannot be the “pillar and
foundation of truth” of which St. Paul speaks. Yet clergy and laity
alike, through devious means are skillfully, tactfully and resolutely
being drawn into such a position of false compromise. Only a few
months ago, a Greek Orthodox bishop in Boston declared that the dogmas
of papal infallibility and the immaculate conception of the Blessed
Virgin Mary were not serious obstacles to Orthodox-Roman Catholic
union. All these years Orthodox have condemned these doctrines and now
we hear from an Orthodox Bishop that they do not constitute serious
obstacles to union with Rome. Obviously, something is wrong here.

I was reminded in October by Bishop Demetrios of the meeting dates of
the spiritual court because by not offering my “repentance” the
Archdiocese felt that I had left myself open to spiritual court. It
seemed totally and absolutely ridiculous and incredible to me that any
Orthodox priest could be called to a spiritual court of the Orthodox
Church because he spoke out on behalf of the Orthodox Faith. I wonder
how the saints and confessors who died for the preservation of the
Orthodox Christian Doctrine would have viewed this situation.
Especially St. Athanasius of Alexandria whose memory was celebrated on
Thursday, and who was exiled five times because of his Orthodox
beliefs, and St. Mark of Ephesus who was celebrated on Friday and who
was the only Orthodox who refused to sign the false union with the
Roman Church in 1439.

If our Orthodox Faith is important to us, then we must speak out over
the corrections and distortions of it which are being made. Our
Archdiocese has become an autocratic, self-centered institution which
is consolidating its authority much like Rome. All privileges and
rights of Orthodox Christians are slowly but surely being taken away
and the Archbishop abuses his canonical rights. Our leaders are not
concerned with truth but only with image and glorification. We are
told that nothing divides Roman Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants
and that the union of the churches must occur. In order to silence
objectors to the ecumenical policies of the Patriarch and Archbishop
we are told that the Patriarch represents all of Orthodoxy and the
Archbishop is his representative in this country. Therefore, other
Orthodox who speak out are silenced because they do not represent the
“official political line” of the Patriarchate.

The blending of various groups is beginning and soon the Orthodox will
fall completely into the ecumenical funnel and will come out as a
bland faith incapable of expressing truth and willing to mix with
anything to give it vitality and quality which it will lose in this
ecumenical blend. Orthodox are slowly being drawn into an ecumenical
super-church which will somehow have the Pope as its head, yet
Orthodox will retain their Patriarch, languages, customs, etc., so
that they will not realize they’ve been absorbed.

Being part of a church which is becoming Roman Catholic in its
administration, Protestant in its faith and Greek Orthodox in its
ritual is not for me. While Orthodoxy is being rapidly recognized as a
“fourth major faith” it is simultaneously losing its Orthodox
character. We are keeping the external trappings and giving away our
internal spiritual wealth and truth.

At this point, I must deplore most strenuously the dual standards and
procedures of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese which have created
extremely difficult and illogical situations within our church. For
example, in our parish we have Orthodox Christians of a jurisdiction
which according to our Archdiocese is uncanonical, and they are
deprived of all rights, privileges, and services of the church. Yet,
at the same time, we see Archbishop Iakovos performing a Memorial
Service for Cardinal Spellman… While prohibiting canonical and
uncanonical Orthodox to pray together, the Archdiocese encourages
joint prayer services with non-Orthodox….

Our Lord has shown me the way I am to take for myself and my family.
It is a difficult one, yet one which under the circumstances leaves me
no choice… I feel that I must enter an Orthodox jurisdiction which
has endeavored to remain Orthodox within the confusion and
contradictions of our times. This group, with which I have had
personal contacts, does not consist of many hundreds of thousands as
does our own Archdiocese; nor does it boast of impressive structures
and unique money-raising ideas; it is a group whose numbers are few
and yet one can sense the spiritual joy and happiness of the bishops
and clergy of this group. Our Lord has said, “where two or three are
gathered together in My name, there I am also.” And as a priest, I was
not and am not concerned with the financial remuneration a parish can
offer, nor with the number of mem¬bers. For whether there are 5 or
5,000, they are children of God. Therefore, I have petitioned to be
received under the jurisdiction of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian
Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Their parish here is St. Nicholas
Cathedral… I will serve there until our own Orthodox missionary
parish is established with the Grace of God….

Fr. Neketas’ petition has been accepted by the Synod of Bishops [of
the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad], and on Sunday, Feb. 11 (Jan. 19,
OS) in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Seattle, he served, in English, the
first Divine Liturgy for his new missionary parish.