UPDATE SEP 20/OCT 3, 2022: Please note that the following affirmation is:
- A work of His Grace Bishop Philaretos of Pallini and Western Europe, and the decision to make use of such an affirmation in the Diocese, and to publish it, is an archpastoral decision.
- Applicable to the Western European Diocese alone. It is not a Synodal proclamation made on behalf of the Synod of Bishops of the RTOC, nor does it claim to be.
The following is an affirmation that must be upheld by every new clergyman received or ordained by the Western European Diocese of the RTOC. It provides an idea of the strictness of Orthodoxy, obedience, spirituality, simplicity, humility, service to the Church, and balance required of our clergy.
I, (Name) as one approaching ordination or reception to the clergy of the Western European Diocese of the Russian True Orthodox Church (RTOC), believe, affirm, and confess the following confession of faith:
We believe in one God, creator of heaven and earth, of all things seen and unseen, known in three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the homoousion and undivided Trinity.
We confess that which the Holy Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the Symbol or collection of the Faith, professes.
As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church received, as the teachers set dogmas, as the entire Church agreed, as Grace shined, as the Truth has been proven, as the falsehood has been expelled, as wisdom has been displayed, as Christ has awarded, so do we think and speak and preach. (Synodikon of the Seventh Ecumenical Council)
Our Holy Orthodox Church believes in the accepted dogmas of the Church established as Christ taught, as the Holy Scriptures recorded, as the Apostles, Saints, and Councils interpreted and handed down to us, as the Church always believed and in all places. This revelation of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ was preached by the Holy Apostles and confirmed and sealed by the Ecumenical Councils.
We have no communion with any “church” that may call itself “Orthodox” but has lost its confession of faith through either ancient heresies or heresies which have appeared more recently, which are in truth based on beliefs that the Church had already rejected, and in particular we reject and anathematize the heresies of Ecumenism, which denies the fullness of the Church of Christ in the Orthodox Church, and Sergianism, which desired to make the Church of Christ subject to God-less authorities, both of which spread through the so-called “Patriarchates” of “World Orthodoxy” during these last times.
We reject the change of the Orthodox Church Calendar which was brought into some so-called “Orthodox Churches” in order to open the way for ecumenism (see the Encyclical of 1920 of the Patriarchate of Constantinople) and we adhere to the decisions of the local councils of 1583, 1593, and 1848 which reject this new church calendar.
We reject the heresy of name-worshipping, as did the synods of both Russia and Constantinople in 1913, which goes so far as to believe that “in the very sounds and the letters of the name of God the grace of God is present” (Apology, pg 188) or, which is essentially the same, that God is inseparably present in His name, which results finally in God being somehow subordinate or subject to man; and moreover, that we can consider Him to be somehow at the disposal of man. Which also goes so far as to believe that it is sufficient (even without faith or unconsciously) for a man to pronounce the name of God, and God is somehow obligated through His grace to be with this man and fulfill his desires” (Decision of the Russian Synod, 1913).
We agree with the encyclical of the patriarchal synod of 1848 which states:
“We keep the guileless confessions that we have received from the great men, turning away from every innovation as a dictation of the devil. The one who accepts an innovation accounts the professed Orthodox Faith as being deficient. However, this faultless Faith has already been sealed, and it can accept neither lessening nor additions nor deterioration, and the one who should dare, to do this or advise this or even think of this, has already denied the Faith of Christ and has already wilfully come under the eternal anathema by blaspheming the Holy Spirit, by saying that the Scriptures and Ecumenical Councils didn’t tell us the entirety of the Faith.
“All those who attempt to innovate, through heresy or schism, have willingly dressed themselves in a curse like a garment, even if they be Popes or Patriarchs, or clergymen, or laity, or even an angel from heaven; Anathema!”
We reject the so-called theory of “Cyprianism” as being heretical because it states that a “church” that professes heresies can be the Church of Christ and that true believers should simply be “resistors” but at the same time members of such a heretical body. It also professes that local and smaller synods of the Church do not have the power to declare that those who have been proven to be heretics based on the teachings of the Church, are no longer part of the Church.
We profess that sanctifying Grace and mysteries only exist in the True Church. St. Cyprian of Carthage expresses this throughout his writings and his teachings on this matter which became standard for the Church. St. Cyprian of Carthage tells us that “Outside the Church, there is no Holy Spirit, sound faith moreover cannot exist” (Treatise on Rebaptism 10 [A.D. 256]).
Up until our times, this has been the common confession of the Orthodox. St. Philaret of New York says, “Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ’s Church is divided into so-called “branches” which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all “branches” or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics are effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema!”
And in the missive of the Most Holy Patriarch Tikhon regarding the Living Church, we read, “With all this, they, the modernists, had separated themselves from the unity of the body of the Ecumenical Church, and they have deprived themselves of the grace of God which abides only in the Church of Christ… And all functions and mysteries which are performed by those bishops and priests who have fallen away from the Church are without grace and the faithful who participate with them in prayer and in mysteries not only do not receive any sanctification but subject themselves to condemnation for participating in their sin (p. 291).”
‘This is the faith of the Apostles, this is the faith of the Fathers, this is the faith of the Orthodox, this is the faith which has supported the whole world’ (Synodikon of the Seventh Ecumenical Council).
Further, in accordance with the teachings of the RTOC, I believe, affirm, and confess:
- That like all other members of World Orthodoxy, both the Moscow Patriarchate (including the ROCOR in communion with them) and the State Church of Greece are deprived of Grace-filled mysteries.
- That the “Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece” under Archbishop Kallinikos, the “Russian Orthodox Church Abroad” under Metropolitan Agafangel both of which entered communion with the unrepetant Cyprianites, and the local churches which are in communion with these two aforementioned groups are deprived of Grace-filled mysteries.
- That the 2017 RTOC Anathemas of Darwinism are correct, valid, and in force.
- That chiliasm – the belief that there will be a golden age or paradise on earth for a thousand years when Christ will reign prior to the Final Judgement – is a heresy condemned by the Second Ecumenical Council.
I confess that I agree with the statement of the Holy Synod of Bishops regarding the coming of the Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast, whose last statement on this topic at the 2017 RTOC Holy Sobor was:
That globalization – as economic, political, and religious unification of mankind – has as its ultimate goal the enslavement of God-given human freedom through the acceptance of the Antichrist’s mark and worshipping him. In part, this is being accomplished through the collection of complete files on each person, including biometric (unique, God-given) features; the storage of this information in a common virtual database; the creation of electronic devices for documents – all this is not yet the Antichrist’s mark, but undoubtedly are steps towards it. The mark will be placed on the human body. The process of training both systems and humans for its adoption is progressing. To refuse the mark at the last stage of this process is a matter of life and death. Not to engage in this process, or to descend from it at its intermediate stages – is a personal feat. It is necessary to remember to contemplate pious activity: repentance, inner sobriety, prayer, reading the Gospel, and serving God and people. Only by these spiritual activities, the Sobor pointed out, will the Lord not forsake His elect. The Sobor calls upon the faithful of the Church of Christ to come to such concrete decisions soberly and with prudence.
It is dangerous to reduce the question of salvation only to the rejection of the economical or political components of the process. We should remember that all the Holy Fathers consider the lack of a spiritual mind in people during the last times, along with their full immersion into the carnal state, to be the main reason for the rapid and reckless submission of mankind to the antichrist, who will seize world dominion, prepared by the builders of the New World Order.
The spiritual mind may be gained and developed only through proper spiritual life taught in the True Orthodox Church. Attaining that, only Orthodox Christians will have full spiritual armor to recognize all the wiles and deceit of the antichrist. These will be that small remnant, who will live according to the Church. Heretics, schismatics, and false-believers who have no spiritual life, or live in wrong, perverted ways, will inevitably become victims of the temptations of the antichrist.
Furthermore, I believe, affirm, and confess the following on matters relating to the last days as described in the Bible, including, but not limited to, the topics of the Antichrist, Whore of Babylon, the Beast, Babylon, and Mark of the Beast:
- That it is blasphemy to consider any heterodox person or group to be more enlightened than our Holy Synod of Bishops on these matters, and so we must not put the witness and teachings of heretics or schismatics – often published in videos on the internet – above the witness and teachings of our Holy Church and Bishops. In fact, we must not condone to even give thought to heterodox teachings on these matters or anything pertaining to Orthodoxy or spirituality.
- That it is blasphemy to consider that heterodox conspiracy theories which claim to be related to Biblical prophecies are sources of enlightened truth, or that they hold any weight compared to what the Genuine Orthodox Church pronounces on such matters.
- That it is not the task of a priest to make definitive assessments on the apocalyptic significance of barcodes, wireless technologies like wifi and 5G, cashless payment systems, vaccines, QR codes, identity cards, chips, social security numbers, biometrics, facemasks, viruses, wars, political happenings, protest movements, revolutions, emerging technologies, or any world events or developments. A priest must defer such matters to the Holy Synod. As a priest, I must not excommunicate anyone, or refuse anyone reception into the Church over such matters without a blessing from my Bishop. I must also refrain from distributing or promoting materials on such subjects without a blessing from my Bishop.
Furthermore, I understand that as a priest I must not do any of the following without a blessing from my ruling Bishop:
- Participate in, or promote any political groups, movements, rallies, or protests, or encourage any of our parishioners to do the same.
- Make public statements on politics.
- Encourage discussion on politics or conspiracy theories amongst my flock, as an obsession over either of these subjects can easily become a path to schism.
- Promote, distribute, or encourage amongst our people any political materials; including writings, videos, and audio productions.
- Promote, distribute, or encourage amongst our people any material whatsoever from heterodox sources that aims to give spiritual teachings or provide an enlightened worldview; including writings, videos, and audio productions.
- Receive anyone – be it through baptism, chrismation, or confession – into the Holy Church of Christ.
- Engage in negotiations with anyone about where I should serve divine services. I will immediately defer all such discussions to my ruling Bishop.
- Make public statements on behalf of the Diocese or Synod.
- Discuss possible union or concelebration with any person from another local church, be they a clergyman or layman.
I understand that I must not give Holy Communion to any person who is not a member of the RTOC or a member of a local church that the RTOC is in communion with, regardless of whether that person is a baby, child, teenager, adult, elderly, male, female, healthy, or unhealthy: In other words, regardless of that person’s age, gender, or state of health.
I understand that I must always strive to be obedient in all things to my ruling Bishop, the Holy Synod of Bishops, and the Holy Canons of the Church.
I understand that my job is to serve the Church and that it is not the Church’s job to serve me.
I understand that my ruling Bishop chooses where I serve divine services, and not myself.
I understand that copies of this affirmation will be kept by the Western European Diocese of the RTOC.
If I have any concerns about anything written in this affirmation or any differences between my confession of faith and the Holy Synod’s, I will address these with the Bishop of my diocese before my ordination or acceptance. If my confession of faith differs from what is listed in this confession of Faith, I will refuse ordination or acceptance.