Saturday, June 18, 2022

A Message to the Faithful from the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece: "The Gifts of the Holy Spirit and False Prophets"

June 14, 2022

To the fullness of the Church of Greece that bear Christ's name,

Topic: "The Gifts of the Holy Spirit and False Prophets"

Beloved children of the Lord,

One week after the feast of Pentecost, during which the Church of Christ was revealed to the world, we honor the offspring of this "new creation" of Grace, that is, the Church, who are all the Saints of God, people who are truly Spirit-bearers.

The All-Holy Spirit is the source of holiness and all gifts. He bestows deifying Grace according to the spiritual condition of man "as He pleases". According to the God-bearing Fathers, the work of the commandments and prayer are causes of the granting of the energies of the Holy Spirit. "In accordance with the work of the commandments," writes Saint Mark the Ascetic; that is, not the hearers, but the doers of the law will become dwelling-places of the All-Holy Spirit. According to the teaching of the Saints, what we can participate in is not the essence of God, but His energy. This energy is called the deifying Grace, Light and Spirit of God and leads man to deification. The humble become recipients of the Grace of God. Only they can decide with certainty about the present and the future, to discern where there is truth and where there is falsehood. The Saints and Divine Seers do not squander the gifts, but are humbled even more after the divine Visitation. On the contrary, those deprived of Grace are false prophets, deluders and delusional, ravenous wolves not sparing the rational sheep of the Church, and possessed by a spirit of pride and arrogance. This phenomenon of false-saints exists in every age.

In the present age there are many false prophets within the Church, who have led astray a number of believers and are in danger of ending up in a schism or heresy. Others of them have become self-appointed teachers and futurists and disturb the faithful with various dangers. Others misinterpret the words of modern and older Saints and present them according to their own way of thinking. Others refer to anonymous elders or eldresses who are alive, who prophesy impending disasters and wars, and often even set specific dates, and when they do not take place, instead of keeping silent out of shame, they do not abandon their disposition, but come up with other new dates. Others also display sacred objects that weep, bleed, and present various other extraordinary and amazing phenomena. Of course, the Church unquestionably accepts both holy objects and the holy Icons and the manifestation of various phenomena of divine Grace through them, but it also requires a lot of care and discernment, especially in our times, in which the internet rules, and news of these things are distributed quickly and become immediately known. The great Saint and Prophet of our days, the elder Porphyrios, observed that “these signs are not all divine. Some of these are caused by the devil through men. Care is needed." That is why it is necessary for us to be very careful in such cases, lest the hand of God is not behind them, but instead wicked people possessed by a spirit of delusion and self-promotion, self-proclaimed saviors, who do not serve the divine will, but their own interests.

Having these things in mind, we draw the attention of the believers of our Church, to not be led astray by various deluders, charlatans and false prophets, who divert them away from their primary purpose, which is to progress in the Orthodox faith and spiritual life, and instead turn their attention to sick situations and to activities and pursuits that do not benefit at all, but rather cause noise and turmoil and scandal and tear apart the seamless robe of the Church, that is, of Christ.

As we remain faithful to the tradition we have received in our Church, we avoid those who are self-isolated and we honor and obey the Pastors and Bishops of our Church, all of whom are vigilant on our behalf, and above all let us "pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another," that the Grace of the Holy Spirit may rest within us, the Spirit of Truth, of Peace and of Unity. Amen.

With paternal blessings and love,

† Hieronymos of Athens, President
† Eusebios of Samos and Icarus
† Theokletos of Florina, Prespes and Eordaia
† Nikodemos of Kassandreia
† Theologos of Serres and Nigrita
† Makarios of Sidirokastro
† Joel of Edessa, Pella and Almopia
† Nektarios of Argolidos
† Timotheos of Thessaliotis and Fanariofersala
† Konstantinos of Megara and Salaminos
† Demetrios of Kefallonia
† Chrysostomos of Trikki and Stagon
† George of Karpenisi

The Secretary
† Philotheos of Oreoi

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.