Regrettably, I’ve seen that none of the unionists that I have met possess neither spiritual crumb nor crust. However, they know how to speak of love and unity, while they themselves are not united with God, for they have not loved Him.

Mount Athos , January 23, 1969.

Revered Father Charalambos,

Seeing the great confusion in our Church, caused by various pro unity movements and contacts of the Patriarch with the Pope, I hurt, being Her child, and it seemed good to me, except for my prayers, to send a small piece of thread (that I have as a poor monk), to be used as well, even one stitch, for the much torn dress of our Mother. I trust that you shall handle it as an act of love and use it through your religious sheet. Thank you.

First of all, I would like to apologise to all for daring to write something while I am neither saintly, nor a theologian.I imagine that everyone will understand that my writings are nothing more than my profound pain, unfortunately on account of the line and mundane love of our father, Mr. Athenagoras. Apparently, he loved another woman, a modern one, called Papal Church , for the Orthodox Mother, being very modest, does not impress him at all. This love, which was heard from Constantinople, echoed in many children who live in the cities. Besides, this is the spirit of our time: the family shall lose the sacred meaning of such affections, which have as their aim the disintegration and not the unity.

With such a mundane love, more or less, our Patriarch arrives in Rome. While he should have shown his love firstly to us, his children and to our Mother Church, unfortunately, he sent his love far away. The result was, on the one hand to repose all the mundane children who love the world and have this mundane love, on the other hand, to overly scandalize all of us, the children of Orthodoxy, young and old, who have fear of God.

Regrettably, I’ve seen that none of the unionists that I have met possess neither spiritual crumb nor crust. However, they know how to speak of love and unity, while they themselves are not united with God, for they have not loved Him.

I would like to strongly urge all our unionist brothers : Since the issue of the union of the Churches is something spiritual and we are in need of spiritual love, let’s leave it to those who truly loved God and who are theologians, such as the Fathers of the Church, and not interpreters of the law, who offered and offer their whole self in the service of the Church (instead of a large candle), who were lit by the fire of the love of God and not by the lighter of the caretaker of the church. We ought to know that there are not only natural laws, but also spiritual. Therefore, the future wrath of God cannot be addressed by cooperative sinners (for we might receive double the amount of wrath), but with repentance and observance of the commands of the Lord.


Also, we ought to know well that our Orthodox Church has no shortage. The only apparent shortage is the lack of major Hierarchs and Shepherds with patristic values. Few are chosen. However, it is not alarming. The Church is the Church of Christ and He governs. It is not a temple, built of stone, sand and lime by the pious, and destroyed by the fire of barbarians, but it is Christ Himself. “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces and the one on whom it falls will be crushed ” (Matt. 44-45). The Lord, when he sees fit, will present persons such as Mark the Courteous and Gregory Palamas to bring together all the overly scandalised brothers of ours to confess the Orthodox Faith, to solidify the Tradition and to give great joy to our Mother.

In our times we see that many faithful children of the Church, both monks and laymen, have unfortunately been torn away from it because of the pro unionists. In my opinion, it is not good to be separated from the Church every time the Patriarch makes a mistake. But from the inside, near the Mother Church, each one of us has a duty and an obligation to struggle in his own way. Ceasing the commemoration of the Patriarch, being torn away and creating one΄s own Church, and continuing to speak, insulting the Patriarch, in my opinion, is absurd.

If, on account of this or that deviation of the various Patriarchs, we get separated and create our own Churches – God forbid! – we will surpass even the Protestants. It is easy to separate but difficult to return. Unfortunately, we have many “churches” in our time.They were created either by large groups or even by one person. Since it happened that their hut (I’m referring to what’s happening in Mount Athos) had a chapel, they thought that they could found their own independent church. If unionists give the first blow to the Church, the abovementioned give the second. Let us pray to God to give His light to all of us and to the Patriarch Athenagoras, firstly in order that these “churches”unify, so that serenity prevails amongst the scandalized orthodox crew, peace and love amongst the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and then let’s think about unifying with the other “Confessions”, if and as long as they sincerely wish to convert to the Orthodox doctrine.

I would also like to add that there is a third party in our Church. I’m referring to those brothers who remain faithful children of Hers, but do not comply to spiritual accordance among them. They are engaged in criticizing each other and not for the mutual good of the struggle. Each one observes the other (more than they observe themselves) in what the other will probably say or write, so that later they will beat them mercilessly. Whereas if he himself said or wrote the same thing, he would support it using indeed many testimonies from the Scripture and the Fathers. The evil that’s being done is great, for on the one hand he’s being unjust to his neighbor, on the other hand, he destroys him in front of other believers. Sometimes he sows distrust in the souls of the weak,for he scandalizes them. Unfortunately, some of us have unreasonable demands of others. We expect them to have the same spiritual character with us. When someone does not agree with our character, being either a little lenient or a little strict, immediately, we come to the conclusion that he is not a spiritual man. Everyone is needed in the Church. All Fathers offered their services to Her. Both gentle characters and austere. Just as both sweet and sour, and even bitter chicory, are essential for the human body (each has its own substances and vitamins), the same applies to the body of the Church. Everyone is needed. One complements the spiritual character of the other and we are all obliged to tolerate not only one’s spiritual nature, but also his weaknesses, which he has as a human being.

Once again I sincerely wish to ask forgiveness from everyone, for I dared to write. I am a simple monk, and my work is to try as much as I can to unrobe off me the old man, and to help others and the Church through God by prayer. But since sad news concerning the Holy Orthodoxy reached me at my hermitage , I hurt a great deal , and it seemed good to me to write what I felt.

Let’s all pray that God give His grace, and let each one of us help in his own way for the glory of our Church.

With a lot of respect to all , Paisios monk.

* The above wise and discreet letter of Elder Paisios of Mount Athos was sent Fr. Charalambos Vassilopoulos in1969.

PILGRIMS ‘ TESTIMONIALS ELDER PAISIOS OF MOUNT ATHOS, vol. I, Edition III, pp. 508 Mr. Nicholaos A. Zournatzoglou).

Know the Greatness of Orthodoxy – scriptural and patristic testimonies

«Οrthodoxos Kypsele» Editions,Thessaloniki

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