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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

A Donation from a Pious Parishioner

One of our Romanian parishioners has commissioned and donated a new synthronon and three analogia for the Shrine Church of Saint Edward the Martyr. All were hand-carved in Romania by a priest of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Romania who manufactures various items of church furniture in order to support the mission of our Sister Church under Metropolitan Vlasie.

For more details please visit: mobiliersculptat.com





Friday, 29 July 2016

Mortuary Renovation

The reconstruction work on the Old Mortuary is progressing quickly. The rotten roof supports are being removed and temporary steelwork has been erected to take the weight of the roof. The pictures below show the new temporary roof being installed.



Donations are needed to help with this restoration work. Please donate, if you can, through the secure CAF online portal by clicking here: 

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Brookwood News

On the 19th June/2nd July, the Feast of Saint John of Shanghai, Bishop Ambrose ordained Christian Doucet to the diaconate at the Convent of the Annunciation. Fr. Christian is French and has built a small, fully-frescoed chapel dedicated to Saint John of Shanghai at his house in Meudon, Paris. On Sunday, 20th June, Fr. Christian was ordained to the priesthood at the Church of Saint Edward the Martyr. Congratulations to Fr. Christian, his Presbytera Catherine and their family!

Congratulations are also in order to Marina Popova, eldest child of Fr. Borislav and Presbytera Marina, who recently graduated from Brunel University, London, with a 2:1 degree in History. Marina, who came to England as a child from Bulgaria, is also, like many of our other young parishioners, fully bilingual - a significant achievement considering how difficult it is to speak British English fluently without a trace of an accent.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Mortuary Appeal

Christ is Risen!

As you will now be aware, we have undertaken to replace the roof of the Old Mortuary Chapel at Saint Edward Brotherhood, which for several years has been showing signs of deterioration.  It does date from 1854!

Under our architect's, Irina Aldersley's, direction, preliminary work began in Bright Week.  However it was necessary to make some further surveys of the supporting structure, when this could be stripped back.  This has now been done, and it appears that the roof has largely been supported on a wing and a prayer for years, as the main supports have rotted through.  The contractors have inserted five steel supports to hold it while work is in progress.

However, the further work that has now been revealed as essential will cost in the region of an additional £48,000 plus VAT - thus nearly an extra £60,000.

Donations to the Building Fund in the last two or three months have been generous, but learning of this additional and considerable need, we ask you still to give as generously as you can.

Ways to donate:  

A)  Donations may be sent to the Brotherhood or paid directly into our King Edward Orthodox Trust Co Ltd Building Fund account, number 00089278, at the CAF Bank Ltd, sort code 40-52-40. When donating by cheque to the account, please write out the name in full.  Previously the bank accepted cheques made out to KEOT or KEOTCoLtd, but now they are wary of this and have returned cheques.

Also if you are giving to us for two or more causes (even if one of them is KEOTCoLtd), please make the cheques payable to Saint Edward Brotherhood.  Here at the Brotherhood we will then earmark the monies as you direct.

B)  You can also donate via the secure CAF online portal by clicking here: 
All gifts, given in this way, go to the King Edward Orthodox Trust Co Ltd account (registered charity 284929) and not to the Brotherhood itself. 
          
C)  Those wishing to give to us using American dollar “checks” should always make them out to Saint Edward Brotherhood, as this is the only dollars account we have.  Again, we will distribute the funds as you direct.

D) If you are a U.K. tax-payer, you may also, of course, "gift-aid" your donation so that we may reclaim the tax already paid on it from the exchequer.  We can send you a gift-aid form if requested.

Please remember our need at this time, support our appeal by your prayers and give as generously as you can, and may our Saviour bless you for your kindness and generosity. 

With love in our Risen Saviour,

Fr Alexis & Brotherhood. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Hierarchical Concelebration at Saint Edward's

On the Sunday of Saint John of the Ladder, Bishop Ambrose served the Divine Liturgy at the Shrine Church of Saint Edward, together with Bishops Sophronie and Evloghie from our Romanian Sister Church. Archimandrites Serafim and Daniel, Fr. Borislav Popov and Fr. Dcn. Nikolai assisted the Brotherhood's clergy on this joyous occasion. During matins, Archimandrite Daniel was received into our synod from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Fr. Daniel was baptised in 1978 at the Monastery of Saint Cyprian and Justina, and has had a long association with our brotherhood. 


Monday, 28 March 2016

The Orthodox Confession of Saint Gregory Palamas

ONE GOD before all, over all, in all, and above everything, do we worship and believe in, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, unconfusedly united and indivisibly divided, the same Unity and Trinity being all-powerful.


The Father is without beginning, not only as being outside time, but also as being in every way without cause. He alone is the cause, root and source of the Godhead beheld in the Son and the Holy Spirit; He alone is the primary cause of what has come into being; He is not the Creator alone, but the sole Father of the one Son and the sole Originator of the one Holy Spirit. He always is, and is always the Father, and always the sole Father and Originator, greater than the Son and the Spirit, but only as cause; in all other respects He is the same as Them and equal in honour.


Of Him there is one Son, without beginning, as being outside time, but not without beginning, as having the Father for origin, root and source, from Whom also He came forth before all ages incorporeally, immutably, impassibly, and by generation, but He was not divided from the Father, being God from God; not one thing insofar as He is God, but another insofar as He is the Son, He always is, and is always the Son, and always the sole Son. Always being unconfusedly with God (Jn 1:1), He is not the cause and origin of the Godhead apprehended in the Trinity, since He exists from the cause and origin of the Father, but He is the cause and origin of all that came into being,since all things came into being through Him (Jn 1:3), Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (Phil. 2:6), but at the end of the ages emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant for our sakes (Phil. 2:7), and was by the law of nature both conceived and born of the Ever-Virgin Mary by the goodwill of the Father and the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, God and Man at the same time; having become truly incarnate, He was made like us in all things except sin (Heb. 4:15), remaining what He was, true God, uniting without confusion or change the two natures, wills and energies, and remaining one Son in a single hypostasis even after the Incarnation, performing all the divine actions as God and all the human actions as Man, being subject to the blameless human passions. Being and remaining impassible and immortal as God, but voluntarily suffering in the flesh as Man, He was crucified, died, and was buried, and rose again on the third day; He appeared to His disciples after the resurrection, and when He had promised them the power from on high and exhorted them to make disciples of all nations, to baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to teach them to observe all that He had commanded (Matt.28:20), He was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19), making our mixture equal in honour, enthronement and divinity, the mixture with which He is going to come in glory to judge the living and the dead, and to reward each man according to his deeds (Matt. 16:27).

It was then that after ascending to the Father He sent upon His holy disciples and Apostles the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father. He is co-beginningless with the Father and the Son as being outside time, but not without beginning, as Himself also having the Father as root, source and cause, not as generated, but as proceeding; for He also came forth from the Father before all ages immutably and impassibly, not by generation, but by procession, being indivisible from the Father and the Son, as proceeding from the Father and resting in the Son, having union without confusion and division without division. He is God and is Himself from God, not one thing insofar as He is God, but another insofar as He is the Paraclete; He is the self- subsistent Spirit, proceeding from the Father and sent, that is manifested, through the Son, the cause of all that came into being, since They were perfected in Him; the same equal in honour with both the Father and the Son, without ingenerateness and generation. He was sent from the Son to His own disciples, that is, He was manifested. For how otherwise would He Who is not separated from Him be sent by Him? How otherwise, pray tell, would He come Who is everywhere? Wherefore, He is sent not only from the Son, but also from the Father and through the Son; and He comes from Himself when He is being manifested. For the sending, that is the manifestation, of the Spirit is a common work. He is manifested, not according to essence, for no one has ever either seen or declared the nature of God, but according to the grace, power and energy which is common to the Father, the Son and the Spirit. For the hypostasis of each, and whatever belongs to it, is peculiar to each of these.

Not only is the superessential Essence, which is entirely nameless, inexpressible and incapable of participation, since it is above every name, expression and participation, common to Them all, but also the grace, the power, the energy, the radiance, the kingdom and the incorruption, and in general everything according to which God communicates and is united by grace with both holy angels and holy men. Departing from His simplicity neither on account of the divisibility and difference of the hypostases, nor on account of the divisibility and variety of powers and energies, we thus have one all-powerful God in one Godhead. For neither from perfect hypostases, could there ever come about any composition, nor could what is potential, because it has power or powers, ever truly be called composite by reason of potentiality itself.

In addition, we accord relative veneration to the holy icon of the Son of God, who is circumscribed as having become incarnate for us, ascribing veneration in relative manner to the Prototype. We venerate the precious wood of the Cross, and all the symbols of His sufferings, as being true divine trophies over the common enemy of our race. In addition to the saving image of the precious Cross, we venerate the divine churches and places, as well as the sacred vessels and the divinely transmitted Scriptures, because of the God Who dwells in them. Likewise, we venerate the icons of all the saints, because of our love for them and for God, whom they truly loved and served, in our veneration ascribing the meaning to the figures depicted in the icons. We also venerate the relics of the Saints, since the sanctifying grace of the same has not departed from their most sacred bones, just as the Godhead was not separated from the Master's body in His three-day death.

We know of nothing that is essentially evil; nor is there any other origin of evil than the perversion of rational men, who abuse the freewill given them by God. We cherish all the ecclesiastical traditions, both written and unwritten, and above all the most mystical and all-sacred Rite, Communion and Assembly, the source of perfection for all the other rites, at which, in recollection of Him Who emptied Himself without emptying and took flesh and suffered on our behalf, according to the divine command which He Himself fulfils, the most divine consecration of the bread and the cup is celebrated, in which the life-giving Body and Blood is accomplished. He bestows the ineffable communion and participation on those who approach in purity. We cast aside and subject to anathema all those who do not confess and believe as the Holy Spirit foretold through the prophets, as the Lord decreed when He appeared to us through the flesh, as the Apostles preached after being sent by Him, as our Fathers and their successors taught us, but who have started their own heresy or followed to the end those who have made an evil start.

We accept and salute the Holy Ĺ’cumenical Synods:the one in Nicaea, of the 318 God-bearing Fathers, against the God-fighting Arius, who impiously degraded the Son of God down to the level of a creature and sundered the Godhead that is worshiped in Father, Son and Holy Spirit into created and uncreated; the one after it in Constantinople of the 150 holy Fathers, against Macedonius of Constantinople, whoimpiously degraded the Holy Spirit down to the level of a creature and no less than the latter sundered the one Godhead into created and uncreated; the one after it in Ephesus of the 200 Fathers, against Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople, who rejected the hypostatic union of divinity and humanity in Christ, and completely refused to call Theotokos the Virgin who truly gave birth to God; and the fourth in Chalcedon of the 630 Fathers, against Eutyches and Dioscorus, who propounded the evil doctrine of one nature in Christ; and the one after it in Constantinople of the 165 Fathers, against Theodore [of Mopsuestia] and Diodorus,who entertained the same ideas as Nestorius and commended his ideas in their writings, and against Origen, Didymus and Evagrius, who were from an older period, but had attempted to infiltrate the Church of God with certain fables; and the one after it in the same city of the 170 Fathers, against Sergius, Pyrrhus and Paul of Constantinople, who rejected the two energies and two wills appropriate to the two natures of Christ; and the one in Nicaea of the 367 Fathers against the Iconoclasts.

We salute also the Holy Synods that were assembled at particular times and in particular places by the grace of God for the confirmation of true religion and the evangelical way of life. Among these are the Synods that have been convened in this great city at the renowned Church of the Holy Wisdom of God, against Barlaam the Calabrian and Akindynus, who holds the same ideas as him and hastens to avenge him by treachery. They propound the doctrine that the common grace of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the light of the age to come, in which the righteous will shine like the sun, as Christ revealed in advance when He shone on Mount Tabor, and in general every power and energy of the tri-hypostatic Godhead and everything that in any way differs from the divine nature, is created, and they too impiously sunder the one Godhead into created and uncreated, calling ditheists and polytheists - as the Jews, the Sabellians and the Arians call us - those who piously honour the most divine light, and every divine power and energy, as uncreated, since none of those properties that belong naturally to God is recent. But we reject both the latter and the former as truly atheists and polytheists, and we completely cut them off from the pleroma of the pious, as the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ has done through the synodical Hagiorite Tome, believing in one tri-hypostatic and all-powerful Godhead, which in no way departs from unity and simplicity on account of the powers and the hypostases. In addition to all these affirmations, we await the resurrection of the dead and the unending life of the age to come. Amen. 

Translated by Patrick Barker (now Hieromonk Patapios)

Monday, 21 March 2016

The Sunday of Orthodoxy





The first Sunday of Great Lent is the Sunday of Orthodoxy on which we commemorate the victory of the Orthodox Church over the heresy of iconoclasm, in particular, and over every other heresy and false teaching. After the Divine Liturgy we had our usual 'pan-Orthodox' procession with the holy icons. The brotherhood were assisted by Fr. Borislav Popov and our Romanian choir, and by a large number of traditionalist Orthodox faithful of many nationalities. Vespers was served after the parish breakfast followed by the reading of the Synodicon of Orthodoxy.



Monday, 14 March 2016

Repose of Subdeacon Prince Dmitri Galitzine


Subdeacon Prince Dmitri Galitzine reposed in the Lord suddenly on 9th March n.s., while visiting Greece. Since his childhood days he had been a faithful member of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad parish in London, but after the submission of the majority of their hierarchy to the Moscow Patriarchate, he left and became a member of our communities under the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece. His funeral was chanted and he was laid to rest at the Holy Angels Convent at Afidnai in Greece.


Our Bishop, Ambrose of Methoni, and Metropolitan Photios of Dimitrias served the funeral, and, with the blessing of Abbess Taxiarchia, the sisters at the Convent have kindly sent us the following pictures of the service.  We ask the faithful to remember Subdeacon Dmitri in their prayers especially for his forty days.

Monday, 22 February 2016

What is meant by the terms ‘canonical’ and ‘non-canonical’?

An excerpt from 'Christian Union? An Orthodox Christian's Guide to Ecumenism: Past, Present and Future'

In the sense that this question uses it, the word ‘canonical’ means ‘official’ or ‘in communion with world Orthodoxy’. Churches that are not in communion with official Orthodoxy are therefore accused by these ‘official’ churches of being ‘non-canonical’. However, the word ‘canonical’ actually means obeying the canons of the Church Councils, so the words ‘canonical’ and ‘ecumenical’ are mutually exclusive. Even Fr. Alexander Schmemman, a famous Orthodox ecumenist, criticized the obsession with associating the word ‘official’ with ‘canonical’:
..it is not the decision of a Patriarch or his synod that creates and guarantees “canonicity”, but, on the contrary, it is the canonicity of the decision that gives it its true authority and power. Truth, and not power, is the criterion, and the canons, not different in this from the dogmas, express the truth of the Church. And just as no power, no authority can transform heresy into orthodoxy and  make white what is black, no power can make canonical a situation which is not canonical.[1]
It is not power or official recognition that defines Orthodoxy, but the exact keeping of the saving Orthodox faith. St. Mark of Ephesus, in rejecting the false union of the Council of Ferrara-Florence, found himself outside official Orthodoxy as the only Orthodox bishop left at the Council who did not sign the agreement of union between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Papacy. Denounced as a heretic by the Pope, Saint Mark answered:
I express not my opinions, I introduce nothing new into the Church, neither do I defend any errors. I keep the doctrine which the Church, having received from Christ our Saviour, has kept and still keeps. This doctrine was also held to by the Church of Rome, unanimously with the Eastern Church, until the start of the Schism. Even during this present synod, you have praised this exact pious worship of the past. No one can censure or condemn this pious teaching. Therefore if I remain firm in this doctrine, and do not wish to reject it, how is it possible to accuse me of being a heretic? 

Orthodox Christians who wish to remain faithful to traditional Orthodoxy do not need to explain or justify their position because the faith they hold is not a modern innovation, but the Orthodox Faith.



[1] St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 2 (1964) pp. 67-84.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

BBC Documentary on Greece

The second part of Simon Reeve's documentary on Greece was broadcast this week and is available on BBC iPlayer:


This episode contains quite a large segment on the Monastery of Esphigmenou on Mount Athos which, for many years, has been besieged because of the monks' opposition to ecumenism and their practice of not commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarch. Because the monks are under siege, with neither food or medicine officially allowed in, Reeve and the BBC camera crew were smuggled in under cover of darkness.

Although, as to be expected, there are some errors in the documentary, the tone is respectful and sheds some light on the suffering joyfully undergone by these Orthodox monks persecuted for their adherence to traditional Orthodoxy.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Fundamentalist, Conservative or Traditionalist?


Fundamentalist, Conservative or
Traditionalist?

The words ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘conservative’ are often used as an insult by religious or political liberals, but Orthodox traditionalism has nothing in common with right-of-centre politics, fundamentalism or conservatism. The Oxford English Dictionary defines conservatism as ‘the tendency to resist great or sudden change; adherence to traditional values and ideas.’ It defines fundamentalism as a ‘strict adherence to ancient or fundamental doctrines, with no concessions to modern developments in thought or customs.’ Both these definitions are accurate in that they portray people’s perception of conservatism and fundamentalism, but there is much more to both than simply a refusal to move with the times.

Today, religious fundamentalism is normally associated with Protestants and Muslims, but there are also Hindu and Buddhist fundamentalists. In the USSR, the persecution of Christians was justified by a form of atheistic fundamentalism. The word ‘fundamentalism’ derives from a collection of essays called ‘The Fundamentals’ published between 1910 and 1915 by American Protestants opposed to liberal theology.

Although fundamentalism is often associated with bigotry and intolerance, these are merely side-effects of the literalism and inflexibility that is associated with it. Another characteristic of fundamentalism is a shallowness of thought in which everything, and everyone, can be divided into good and bad, right or wrong. For example, an Orthodox ‘fundamentalist’ would insist long hair and beards indicate ‘good’ Orthodox priests, but that short hair and goatees indicate ‘bad’ priests. Although Orthodox clergy should have long hair and beards, this by itself does not indicate traditional Orthodoxy: Patriarch Athenagoras, for example, had a long, untrimmed beard. On the other hand, some Orthodox clergy dress in a nontraditional manner, but are supporters of traditional Orthodoxy in their hearts who, for various reasons, are unable to make a more public commitment to it.

Orthodoxy and fundamentalism


It is impossible to strip the Mysteries of the Church back to some man-made fundamentals that must be conformed to. An Orthodox belief in Scripture and Tradition is essential to right faith, but it is not right faith. A simple mental acceptance of these dogmas is not enough; we must live in the dogmas, not simply recognize them to be correct.
Although we have discussed the exclusiveness of the Orthodox Church and its perfect exposition of the Christian Faith, this perfection is not the dogmas of the Church. It is because the Church is the Body of Christ, that these dogmas are perfect and must be believed. Believing correctly in Orthodox dogma is essential for salvation, but it is not how right we believe the Orthodox Church to be that saves, but how much we put these beliefs into practice.
In other words, the key difference between Orthodoxy and fundamentalism is that the latter is theoretical, but the former is practical. In addition, fundamentalism is characterized by pride and bigotry, but true Orthodox Christianity (and therefore Orthodox traditionalism) by humility and tolerance. Fundamentalism is incompatible with the Orthodox ethos of love, compassion, and forgiveness.
The path of Orthodox Traditionalism is the Royal Path between fundamentalism on the right and syncretism on the left. In the words of the Patriarch of Constantinople’s 1902 encyclical:
We must guard in its integrity the divine jewel, the dogmas of the Orthodox Faith, which we have preserved intact for all the centuries past. We must preserve every liturgical custom of whatever sort which clearly symbolizes the essence of these dogmas...We must preserve entire the whole external life of Orthodoxy.
This ‘external life’ of Orthodoxy is how we put our Orthodox Faith into practice. It is by prayer, fasting, by guarding of the senses, and thoughts, and above all by humility, that we can prevent a lapse from traditionalism into fundamentalism.
The only reason that the phrase ‘Orthodox traditionalism’ exists is because Orthodox ecumenism exists. Traditionalism is faithfulness to the traditions of Orthodoxy that are being betrayed by the ecumenical movement. Traditionalism is Orthodoxy.

Conservatism or traditionalism?


Orthodox traditionalism, because it resists the breaking down of Church tradition by ecumenism is viewed by many as a form of conservatism. The view that the Orthodox Church is outdated and crippled by conservatism is held by many ecumenists:
Much of the anxiety Orthodox feel – the fear that they may be “trapped” in an unacceptable prayer – is triggered by the fact that the ecumenical worship does not use predicable and centuries-old prayers…This causes Orthodox worshippers to feel uneasy and uncomfortable. They do not trust new prayers. But is this distrust consistent with Orthodox tradition? Isn’t it the case that, at some point, all Christian prayers were new? The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom was once prayed for the first time, by a community which had never heard it before. Why, then, is there an Orthodox distrust of the “new” today? Has the Holy Spirit abandoned the church and withdrawn inspiration? [1]
However, traditionalism is not just about rejecting change. The ecumenist quoted above completely misses the point that the prayers of the Orthodox Church are always new because the Church is constantly being renewed by the Holy Spirit. The Church is a living theanthropic organism. Even on a practical level, new hymns are being composed every day to the many Saints who do not have a service written for them. These hymns are new, but the Orthodox Church embraces them because they are composed from within the Orthodox Tradition.

The key difference between Orthodox traditionalism and conservatism is that the latter seeks to conserve some outward traditions, but real traditionalism preserves, not only the outward traditions, but also the dogmas of the Church, not simply to be conservative, but because they are saving and because the Church is a place to heal our souls from their spiritual sickness.

Unfortunately, many Orthodox Christians believe in conservatism rather than traditionalism. Some modernist Orthodox churches are adorned with ‘correct’ Byzantine iconography and use Byzantine chant, but have little commitment to the traditional Orthodox Faith. For example, one New Calendar diocese in the late 90s banned raffles and bingo on church premises, but at the same time issued the following encyclical:
Converts to our faith, coming to us from the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches that baptize with a Trinitarian formula, are received into our Church through the Sacrament of Chrismation. They are not received through the Sacrament of Baptism. Any one that receives such a convert through Baptism and not Chrismation will be immediately suspended and brought to a Spiritual Court hearing. This is not a new policy or directive. No one has the authority or right to arbitrarily change this practice of our Church. [2]
As we have discussed, ‘the practice of our Church’ (Constantinople) that the bishop refers to above, was different in previous years before the heresy of ecumenism reduced Her ability to stand up for the dogmas of Orthodoxy. The issue of conservatism is not black and white. The noted ecumenist Fr. Alexander Schmemann, for example, took exception to the practice of private baptisms held in people’s homes and to other changes to the baptismal service introduced by liturgical modernists:
It is indeed quite typical of our present situation that while all efforts toward a more liturgical celebration of Baptism are met with suspicion if not outright opposition (they scandalize the faithful!), the non-compliance with even the most explicit rubrics concerning Baptism is accepted as perfectly normal. [3]
Orthodox conservatism, in that it keeps some traditions and rejects others, is similar in many ways to fundamentalism. Traditionalists, on the other hand, do not reject any traditions of the Orthodox Church as unnecessary or outdated. Trying to keep these traditions is part of the Orthodox spiritual life in which we struggle in obedience to the Church.

The importance of the Orthodox spiritual life in avoiding Fundamentalism


Traditionalism can turn into fundamentalism if, through laziness and pride, we neglect our own spiritual lives and focus on the failings of others; when we measure our Orthodoxy by how strict we are in keeping the rules of the church compared to others, rather than by how strict we are in fighting the passions. We will then, in the words of Saint Maximos the Confessor, be pursuing a form of ‘theoretical morality’.
We must follow the Royal Path[4] of Orthodoxy, avoiding destructive doubt and modernism on the left, and fundamentalism, coupled with pride on the right. In contrast to fundamentalism, Orthodox traditionalism seeks to keep the traditions of the Church not only because they are divinely inspired, but because the traditionalists themselves, as best they can, are struggling with humility in prayer and asceticism, to become divinely inspired themselves.

True Orthodoxy cannot be separated from personal experience. Central to this experience must be humility which prevents us from slipping from traditionalism into fundamentalism. However, in order to avoid pride and gain true humility we must guard our senses and thoughts by not interacting with the various suggestions of the demons. This is the foundation of the spiritual life as Saint Gregory Palamas teaches:
Set this guard, therefore, over your soul and body, for thereby you will readily free yourself from the passions of body and soul. Take yourself in hand then, be attentive to yourself, scrutinize yourself; or, rather, guard, watch over and test yourself, for in this manner you will subdue your rebellious unregenerate self to the Spirit and there will never again be ‘some secret iniquity in your heart’.[5]
This purifying of the nous (the eye or energy of the soul) is the goal of all Orthodox Christians. It is this life of asceticism within the Church that is fundamental to Orthodoxy, and this active struggle and warfare against the passions that distinguishes theoretical fundamentalism from active traditionalism.


[1] Ecumenical Review, Vol. 54, No. 1, (January-April 2002): pp. 3-27.

[2] The Reception of Converts into Orthodoxy (Diocese of Pittsburgh: May 19, 1997).

[3] A. Schmemann, Of Water and the Spirit (New York: SVS Press 1974) p. 164.

[4] cf. Numbers 20:17-21:22.

[5] G.E.H. Palmer, P. Sherrard & K. Ware (trans.), The Philokalia, Vol. 4 (London: Faber & Faber, 1995) p. 338.