Metropolitan Luke publishes an open letter to the monastics of Athos
In view of the future visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to Athos, Metropolitan Luke (Kovalenko) of Zaporozhye addressed an open letter to the monks of the Holy Mountain.
The letter of His Eminence is addressed to the Athonite brethren in connection with a future visit to Athos by the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Patriarch Bartholomew.
The hierarch emphasized that "today God attends us by sending trials in which we must show the invincible fortitude of our faith and adamant observance of the holy canons of our Mother Church."
Metropolitan Luke reminded the monks of Athos that “so-called 'patriarch' Bartholomew defiled his heart and his hands with the betrayal of God and the violation of His Holy Commandments. As a result of the action of this person, our holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church is being covered with blood and tears. Priests and parishioners are beaten, churches are seized, we are defamed and slandered by the media.”
All this, according to Vladyka, gives Orthodox Christians "the opportunity to show their loyalty to His Logos and to follow His Will."
That is why the metropolitan asked the monks "to stand in full solidarity with us in this loyalty to Christ and the canons of the Orthodox Church ... to be firm in our beliefs, not to succumb to any misleading persuasion and not to fear threats, because God is with us!"
In addition, Metropolitan Luke emphasized that "those who are ready to follow the call of a ‘wolf in sheep's clothing’ out of the so-called ‘obedience’, I declare with all responsibility for my words to God and to His Holy Ecumenical and Apostolic Church – you betray Christ in this way!”
He writes that “neither a father nor a good shepherd but only a thief and a robber will exhort anyone to recognize the nationalist breakaway groups as a canonical church. This is not to be a bearer of the “image of meekness,” but a successor in spirit and an heir to the work of Nestorius, Sergius I and other heresiarchs – John XI Vekka, Meletius IV Metaxakis and Athenagoras Spira – who were ministers of the enemy of the human race similarly to the current patriarch of Constantinople. The evil-minded Mr. Bartholomew has already lost the right to be called not only a patriarch, but also an Orthodox person.”
His Eminence expressed regret because some monks “are ready to recognize the actions of this person on accepting unrepentant dissenters into the Church body as lawful, only in order to provide themselves with the opportunity to continue their monastic life on the Holy Mountain”.
He appeals to the monastics to think, “Is it worth it for thirty pieces of silver to betray their faith and beliefs?” Is it not common fear, cowardice, and betrayal that lurk in the word "obedience"? Will your prayers and exploits bought at such a price be pleasing to God?”
Metropolitan Luke reminds the monks that “the price of this betrayal is equal to booking a place at the Last Judgment near Judas and the tormentors who crucified our Lord. Our Church is already paying for this betrayal with blood and pain. Do you want to be convicted with our executioners? Or, perhaps, it’s better 'if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory' (Romans 8:17).”
He also addresses those who have decided “that ‘if Patriarch Bartholomew comes with schismatics from Ukraine, then he will be received there but schismatics won’t be’ and asks them to reflect on "who is more guilty: the child or the mother who gave him birth and raised him so?"
His Eminence is sure that “Mr. Archondonis is a man whom the devil struck with a terrible disease – pride – and through this made him his weapon. His task is to split the Church, sow enmity, wreak havoc, destroy those who are not firm in faith, shake doubters, cause embarrassment in the minds and arouse temptation. From the patriarch he turns into an apostle of Satan and his loyal subject! ”
At the end of the letter, Metropolitan Luke urged the monks “to preserve faith and keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21)” and asked them for holy prayers.
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the main purpose of the trip of Phanar’s head to Mount Athos is called "admonition" of dissenting monasteries and monks who do not want to recognize the OCU and see schismatics on the Holy Mountain.