An Appeal to Roman Catholics
by Father Alexey Young


        Someone has said that the Orthodox Church is like  a  mansion  with
countless  different  gates -- no two people seem to enter by the same one.
I  entered  Orthodoxy  from  Roman  Catholicism  in  1970.   As  a  "cradle
Catholic",  I  passed  through  a  period of skepticism concerning religion
when, as a young man, I forsook the teachings of the Roman Catholic  Church
and lived a deeply sinful and irresponsible life for a period of years.

        This was not because of any lack on the part of my Catholic parents
who, by precept and example, had certainly given me more than they can ever
know, or because the nuns in school had "failed" me.   My  agnosticism  and
reproachable style of life were purely self-willed.

        There came a point when the emptiness of my life  compelled  me  to
start  looking  for  God.   Having been raised in a Catholic environment, I
naturally turned back to that Church for guidance and strength.  I returned
to  the  Catholic sacraments, read spiritual books, went on "retreats", and
visited monastics -- particularly contemplatives in enclosed orders.   From
the  outside,  it  must  have  seemed  like  a  routine adult conversion or

        In fact, I was not "reconverted" at all.  At  bottom  there  was  a
deep  sense  of dissatisfaction.  I had returned to Catholicism in order to
learn about spiritual life.  By now, I was also a husband and a father, and
was concerned about teaching my children true values.  But this was shortly
after the second Vatican Council, a  time  of  great  upheaval  and  strife
within the Roman Church, when anything and everything were being emphasized
BUT the things I needed in my life.

        In 1966, I heard through the news media of  the  death  of  Blessed
John  Maximovitch,  the  Orthodox  Archbishop  of  Western  America and San
Francisco.  The stories I heard about  his  heroic  ascetic  struggles  and
wonder  working  moved me, and I decided to attend his funeral.  I had been
in Orthodox churches before, but only out of idle curiosity.   Now,  I  was
present  at  the  funeral  of  a  saintly  hierarch  because he had somehow
"spoken" to me through the news reports about his holy life and death.

        I was not converted to Orthodoxy on the spot, but I  had  a  strong
desire  to  know  more  about  this  archbishop's  angel-like life.  I read
whatever I could find concerning him in English and was  hungry  for  more.
So  I  began  reading  lives  of other Orthodox saints (and immediately was
aware of how different they are from Roman Catholic "saints", though I  did
not  then  know why).  I felt the strongest attraction towards these saints
and couldn't forget them.  It didn't take long  to  realize  that  I  could
better  understand  them  if I knew more about their faith.  I read several
books about Orthodoxy -- some by writers who were Orthodox, others by Roman
Catholics, and others who were just "objective scholars".  It was here that
I first came across the Orthodox belief that the Western  or  Latin  church
had separated itself from the Orthodox Church, and not the other way around
-- as I had always been told.  This was an amazing idea,  hardly  possible,
and certainly not believable -- or was it?  I decided to probe further.

        I was born and raised during the "triumphal" years of the reign  of
Pius  XII  as  pope.   Deeply  engraved  on  my mind from my first years in
parochial school was an image of this white-clad and  austere  pontiff  who
was,  according  to  our  catechism  book,  the "Successor of St.Peter" and
"Vicar of Christ on earth." I decided to see what I could  find  out  about
the  supremacy  of  the  Bishop  of  Rome in the writings of the pre-schism
Church Fathers (both Eastern and  Western),  and  in  the  decrees  of  the
Ecumenical  Councils which had been accepted by the Universal Church before
the Schism of 1054 A.D.

        What I discovered was nothing short  of  shocking  to  my  Catholic
mind.   Far  from  finding  a  clear  and  established  teaching  about the
supremacy of the Roman See, I found on the contrary  considerable  evidence
that  the  Fathers knew no such teaching and that the bishops of Rome were,
for the first 800 years, either silent on the  subject  (STRANGE,  if  they
believed  themselves  to  have  universal  authority  over the Church!), or
decisively REJECTED the idea of a supremacy for themselves.   Subsequently,
I  learned about the origin of other Latin doctrines (such as the Filioque,
purgatory, indulgences, the Immaculate Conception, etc.).

        Long after I was "intellectually  convinced"  that  Rome  had  been
guilty  of  errors  and  innovations (I didn't think of them as heresies at
that point), I still  thought  that  the  idea  of  the  papacy  was  quite
"reasonable",  even  if  it  wasn't of Apostolic origin.  (This business of
"reasonableness", by the way, is characteristic of the  Catholic  mentality
--  the  same  "reasonableness"  or  "logic" had led to erroneous teachings
about the Holy Trinity, life after death, and the Mother  of  God.)  I  was
only  being  "pragmatic".   I  reasoned  thus:   the  Church of Christ must
preserve and teach the Truth to each generation; she must know her own mind
on  all  of  these things and speak authoritatively.  How better to do this
than to have a locus for this teaching  in  the  person  of  'one'  bishop?
However,  it was one thing to conclude that the papacy was somehow "right",
and quite another to see it as a  'good'  thing.   This  was  rationalistic
"double-think", but I didn't know it then.

        What brought me through all of this to a knowledge of the truth was
not  book-learning  and  research, but the incomparable example of Orthodox
saints.  The burning attraction I had felt for them was love, not scholarly
fascination.   I  wanted to understand them better; in fact, I wanted to be
like them.  I realized that I loved  them  because  they  are  Christ-like;
their  Orthodox way of life is a constant revelation of Christ to the world
of men.  How could I imitate them if I didn't try to live their Faith?

        When later I discovered these words by a modern Orthodox writer,  I
wished that I had found them during this time of searching.

        "In order for one to understand  the  saints  and  fathers  of  the
Church,  it  is  not sufficient merely you read them.  The saints spoke and
wrote after having lived the mysteries of God.  They personally experienced
the  mysteries.   In  order  for  one  to understand them, he too must have
progressed to a certain degree of initiation into the mysteries of  God  by
personally  tasting,  smelling,  and seeing.  You can read the books of the
saints and become very well versed in them  with  a  'cerebral'  knowledge,
without  even  minutely tasting that which the saints who wrote these books
tasted through their personal  experience.   In  order  to  understand  the
saints   essentially,   not   intellectually,  you  must  have  the  proper
experiences for all that they say.  You must have tasted, at least in part,
the same things as they.  You must have lived in the fervent environment of
Orthodoxy.  You must have grown in it ...  A WHOLE NEW WORLD MUST  BE  BORN
ORTHODOXY." (Dr. Alexander Kalomiros).

        It was blessed Archbishop John -- the first Orthodox  saint  I  had
known  --  who  brought  about  my conversion as I knelt before his tomb on
Great Saturday of 1970.  Some weeks later, I stood with my family before  a
priest  in  order  to  be  received  into  Orthodoxy.  I was called upon to
"renounce, now, with all thy heart, thine errors and false doctrines." This
I  did  willingly.   But  the hardest words to utter were "I do" after this
question:  "Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief ...   that  a  man,  to
wit,  the bishop of Rome, can be the head of Christ's body, that is to say,
of the whole Church?"

        Someone not raised in the Church of Rome might well wonder  why  I,
who  had, after all, been truly and spiritually (not merely intellectually)
converted to Orthodoxy, should at the last moment tremble at renouncing the
Pope.   Few  Orthodox clergy realize in the least what a Roman Catholic has
to go through before he becomes Orthodox.  There is  an  internal  conflict
that  comes  from  years  of training; he feels that he has left a familiar
room and is stepping into a  huge  wilderness.   He  needs  time  and  much
patient understanding in order to make the necessary break with his past.

        Pre-Vatican II Roman Catholics will have no difficulty  at  all  in
understanding my hesitation.  Central to the faith of the Roman Catholic is
his conviction that the true Church must rest upon the "barque  of  Peter,"
for  no one not in obedience to the Pope can be saved -- and especially not
someone who knowingly rejects the papacy.  But  since  a  Roman  Catholic's
faith  is by definition built upon the idea of the papacy, it was essential
that I renounce it once and for all, if I were  going  to  be  a  true  and
honest  Orthodox Christian.  Thanks be to God, the moment I spoke the words
of renunciation, all emotional ties with  Rome  were  immediately  severed.
Not  once during the succeeding years did I, or my wife, look back upon our
years as Roman Catholics with an instant of regret or nostalgia.

        I have gone to some length to describe the path I took from Rome to
Orthodoxy,  not  because  there was anything particularly special about it,
but because it may be of help to some  well-meaning  people  in  the  Roman
Catholic   Church   who   are   today   experiencing   the   same  profound
dissatisfaction through which I went, who are dismayed and  shaken  by  the
all  but  unbelievable  changes in the church since Vatican II, and who are
sick of being in  that  constant  state  of  agitation  and  tension  which
distracts  them  from following Christ -- but who still hold on emotionally
to the idea of  the  papacy.   So  deep-seated  are  the  ties  which  bind
traditional  Roman  Catholics  to the pope that, in the face of intelligent
evidence to the contrary, they continue to insist that they can save  their
souls  if only they remain loyal and obedient at least to the "idea" of the
papacy, if not to the actual person of the reigning pope.

        The following essay will be disturbing to Roman  Catholic  readers.
It  contains  some things that they already know, and much that will be new
to them.  Its purpose is three-fold:  first, to witness to the faith  which
God  gave  to  one  unworthy  former  Roman  Catholic;  second,  to give an
"Orthodox view" of developments in the Church of Rome  --  developments  to
which  no  honest  Catholic can turn a blind eye or deaf ear; and third, to
show sincere Roman Catholics that (as another has written), "in order to be
'truly' Catholic they must become Orthodox."

        The 19th century Russian saint, John of  Kronstadt,  observed  that
Roman  Catholicism  had  become a dead shell of Christianity, held together
only by its outward discipline.  When this discipline begins to  crack,  he
said, the institution itself will collapse.

        This was exactly prophetic of the events  we  are  now  witnessing.
The spectacle of the Roman Catholic Church in disarray around the world and
throughout her ranks is the sure result of this slow  collapse  in  outward
discipline.    The   sorry  plight  of  today's  Catholics  is  amazing  to
non-Catholics who remember the Roman triumphalism of previous years.

        How did this slow collapse come about, and what does  it  mean  for
Roman Catholics -- indeed, for all of us?


        The Latin or Western Church was once part of the  Universal  Church
of Christ.  At the time of the Great Schism of 1054 A.D.  she left the True
Church.  For a long time before this, Western Christians showed signs of an
unhealthy  emphasis  on  rationalism  and  logic  -- which was alien to the
spirit of Christianity.  Such, for example,  was  the  "logical"  deduction
that  caused  the  Latins to introduce into the Nicene Creed the 'filioque'
("from the Son") clause, even though there was no justification for this in
either Scripture or Tradition.  Such, also was the steadly growing temporal
power of the papacy -- directly contradicting the  canons  of  the  various
Councils (which had heretofore been accepted by the Roman Patriarchate).

        Before the Schism.  the authority of the bishop of  Rome  consisted
of rightful jurisdiction over all bishops in his see.  The First Council of
Nicaea (A.  D. 325) accorded a primacy of "honor"  to  the  bishop  of  Old
Rome,  not  because Rome had been the seat of St. Peter, but "on account of
her being the imperial capital" [Canon 28].

        As Patriarch of Western Europe, this bishop had no  more  authority
than  that  granted  to any of the patriarchs in the Eastern section of the
empire.  It is little known, but as late as the  19th  century  many  Roman
Catholic  bishops still understood the jurisdiction of the pope in the same
way as the early Church.  When  Pius  IX  sought  the  official  mantle  of
supremacy  in  all matters of faith and morals at the First Vatican Council
(1870), Bishop Strossmayer rose and spoke these words:

        "I do not  find  one  single  chapter,  or  one  little  verse  [of
Scripture]  in  which  Jesus Christ gives to St. Peter the mastery over the
apostles, his fellow-workers ...  The Apostle Paul makes no mention of  the
primacy of Peter in any of his letters directed to the various churches ...
What has surprised me most, and what moreover is capable to  demonstration,

        Bishop  Strossmayer's  view  exactly  agrees  with  the   universal
understanding of the early Church.  He continued:

        "The Councils of the first four centuries,  while  they  recognized
the  high  position  which  the  bishop  of  Rome occupied in the Church on
account of Rome, only accorded to him a pre-eminence  of  honor,  never  of
power  or  of  jurisdiction.   In the passage, "Thou art Peter, and on this
rock will I build My Church," the Fathers never understood that the  Church
was  built  on  Peter (super Petrum), but on the rock (super petram) of the
Apostle's confession of faith in the Divinity of Christ." [For the complete
text of Bishop Strossmayer's address to the First Vatican Council, see 'The
Myth of Papal  Infallibility,'  The  Cenacle/St.John  of  Kronstadt  Press,

        I stress that Strossmayer's  words  truly  reflect  the  pre-Schism
teaching  of  the Church of Christ, both East and West.  Any Roman Catholic
can check this out for himself  --  both  Strossmayer's  comments  and  the
teachings  of  the early fathers.  Considerable information is available to
those who sincerely wish to learn.  It is NOT an  "esoteric  subject"  that
only  theologians and historians can understand.  To Roman Catholic readers
I say:  you owe it to yourselves, for the sake of your souls, to FIND  OUT.
If  for  some  reason  you  cannot locate the information on your own, then
write to one of the sources mentioned in this article.

        One of the books which you should obtain and read in its  entirety,
and which is available in most larger libraries is 'The Commonitory' of the
Western Church Father, St. Vincent of Lerins (+450).  It  is  most  readily
found in Vol.  XI of 'The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers' [Eerdmans Press],
or in the 'Fathers of the Church' series  of  the  Catholic  University  of

        St. Vincent is writing against the innovations of  his  time.   His
object  is  to provide a general rule for distinguishing truth from heresy.
He answers the question, "How are we to understand Scripture when  so  many
[heretics]  interpret  it  differently?" He replies that true Catholics are
those who "hold the Faith which has been believed everywhere,  always,  and
by  all," and who "in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is
manifest were held by our holy ancestors and fathers."

        Under the heading "The Notes of a True Catholic" he says that  "the
true  and  genuine Catholic [is he who] believes that, and that only, which
he is sure the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient times;
but  that whatsoever new and unheard-of doctrine he shall find to have been
furtively introduced by some one or other" he will reject.

        (I  should  emphasize  that  many  Church  fathers  use  the   term
"Catholic"  in  their  writings, but they do NOT mean ROMAN Catholic.  They
use the word in its original sense -- universal, all-inclusive and  "whole"
--  when  speaking of the true Church of Christ.  Thus, one of the earliest
fathers, St. Ignatius of Antioch, says nothing of the pope, but  does  say:
"Where  Christ  is,  there  is  the  Catholic  Church;  where the bishop is
[meaning any true bishop], there must the people be also.")

        Most telling is that nowhere does St. Vincent say that  the  bishop
of  Rome  is  a "guide" in matters of faith, although he mentions the Roman
see and quotes Pope Stephen as saying,  "Let  there  be  no  innovation  --
nothing  but  what  has  been  handed  down."  When  we see the post-Schism
teaching about the "infallibility" of the bishop  of  Rome  in  matters  of
faith  and  morals,  we  cannot  but  wonder  why  St.  Vincent did deem it
important to say that one  of  the  "notes"  of  a  true  Catholic  is  his
submission to Rome.

        Moreover, Roman Catholic scholars commonly admit that the  doctrine
of  papal  authority  is  of  recent  origin.   To quote from the 'Catholic
Dictionary' (printed under "imprimatur" in 1917) concerning the age of  the
early  fathers:   "We cannot expect many instances of the exercise of papal
power at this time.  Time was needed to develop  [these]  principles."  "It
would,  of course, be a monstrous anachronism were we to attribute a belief
in papal infallibility to anti-Nicene fathers.  Our  contention  is  simply
that  the  modern  doctrine  of  papal  power  is  the 'logical' outcome of
patristic principles." Finally:  "Papal infallibility follows  by  'logical

        This illustrates another point,  that  in  Roman  Christianity  one
comes to a knowledge of the truth primarily by just 'thinking', by bringing
all the rational powers of one's mind to a  point  of  concentration  on  a
given  question  or  concept.   There  is no other prerequisite than that a
person be reasonably intelligent and informed and prepared to do the job of
thinking.   A  Thomas  Aquinas  or  John  Calvin might add to this thinking
process  a  prayerful  request  for  inspiration,  but  the  foundation  is
essentially  the  same:   It is human logic which guides the thinker.  This
has been  for  so  many  centuries  the  'norm'  that  no  one  in  Western
Christendom  supposes there is anything wrong with it, in spite of the fact
that individuals starting with the  same  set  of  "facts"  come  to  quite
different  conclusions.   Therefore,  it seems quite "logical" to some that
there should be an infallible papacy, while to  others  it  seems  complete

        Contrast this with the Orthodox way to knowledge.  The holy fathers
and  saints  do  not  just  "sit down and think".  They first struggle with
their sins and are purified.  As a  present-day  Orthodox  theologian,  Fr.
Nicholas  Deputatov,  has written:  "The mysteries of our Faith are unknown
and not understandable to those who are not  repenting."  After  this,  God
enlightens them about the Truth.  While the Orthodox fathers do not despise
human reason (in fact, they have great respect for it), they also know that
God's ways seem foolish to the wise of this world.

        The point is  that  for  Orthodox  Christians  the  basis  of  true
knowledge is not man, but God.  It is no longer this way in the West, where
Christendom has  become  too  imbued  with  humanistic  principles  of  the
Renaissance  that  it makes man the measure of all things, adding God as an
after-thought (if indeed He is "added" at all).

        But I must say also that although Rome accepted and began to  teach
various  novelties  and  heresies,  she  also preserved many basic Orthodox
doctrines  and  outward  forms  (at  least   by   comparison   with   later
Protestants),  albeit  in  a  distorted  way  --  that is, until the Second
Vatican Council.

        However, among pre-Vatican II innovations is the  doctrine  of  the
"Immaculate  Conception"  promulgated  by  Pope  Pius  IX  in  1858.  Roman
Catholics justified this new teaching by saying that it has  'always'  been
believed  by the Church, although not officially "defined" as an article of
faith.  This is a  curious  claim  in  light  of  the  fact  that  numerous
post-Schism  Roman  Catholic  teachers quite decisively rejected the notion
that the Mother of God was "conceived without sin." One such  who  will  be
well  known  to traditional minded Roman Catholics is Bernard of Clairvaux,
one of the medieval champions of the Mother of God, considered a  saint  by
the  Roman  Catholics.   Bernard  wrote  at  length  on the matter, but the
following brief quotation may be of special interest:

        "I am frightened now, seeing that certain of you  have  desired  to
change  the  condition  of  important  matters,  introducing a new festival
unknown to  the  Church,  unapproved  by  reason,  unjustified  by  ancient
tradition.   Are  we  really  more learned and more pious than our fathers?
You will say, 'One must glorify the Mother of God  as  much  as  possible.'
This  is  true;  but the glorification given to the Queen of Heaven demands
discernment.  This royal Virgin does not have need of false glorifications,
a  novelty  which  is the mother of imprudence, the sister of unbelief, and
the daughter of light-mindedness" [Bernard, Epistle  174;  quoted  in  'The
Orthodox  Veneration  of  the  Mother of God', Archbishop John Maximovitch,
Platina, CA, 1978].

        In spite of such innovations,  prior  to  Vatican  II  the  outward
discipline  of  the Church of Rome was awesome.  But once the revolutionary
spirit began to shatter that iron-clad discipline, Rome started  to  reveal
her  inner self as never before, all in the name of legalistic obedience to
the pope.


        In  1967  the  official  Vatican  newspaper  L'Osservatore  Romano,
announced  that  "Liturgical reform has taken a notable step forward on the
path of ecumenism.  It has come closer  to  the  liturgical  forms  of  the
Lutheran Church." Many applauded this development.  A few were shocked.

        Ten years later, the Roman  Catholic  Church  was  threatened  with
schism  on  both  the  right and the left:  on the right, symbolized by the
French  traditionalist  Archbishop  Lefebvre,  who  did  not  want  to   be
protestantized;  and  on  the  left, by a host of modernist theologians who
teach humanism and relativism, and wish to build a "new world order".

        It is because of the  reformers  on  the  left  that  institutional
Catholicism   is   collapsing.    These   far   more   numerous   than  the
traditionalists, more outspoken, and clearly more influential in all  areas
of  Catholic  society.   The  tremendous  tensions between the left and the
right prompted the noted  Roman  Catholic  writer  and  ex-Jesuit,  Malachi
Martin,  to predict:  "Well before the year 2000, there will no longer be a
religious institution recognizable as the Roman Catholic Church of today."

        Major changes in liturgy, theology and world  view  have  caused  a
committee  of  Roman  theologians to declare that their church is now in "a
period of spiritual crisis that is without precedent."

        This is because of what Malachi Martin calls the  "de-churching  of

        "For almost twenty years now, the  churches  have  been  dedicating
them   selves  predominantly,  in  some  cases  exclusively  to  issues  of
sociology, and politics.   They  have  been  led  into  deeper  and  deeper
commitment  to  public  action  of  a kind indistinguishable from the local
political club.  This commitment has changed the way they pray and  worship
and  preach  the  Gospel  revelation  ...   No  one knows what will be left
intact, or how long Christians of a later generation will have to  struggle
in  order  to regain that essential link with the Jesus of history, without
whom Christianity becomes one huge, dead joke." Let us now examine some  of
these important changes and their meaning.


        The primary liturgical  act  of  Roman  Catholicism  is  the  Mass.
Except  in certain conservative religious orders, the concept of the Lord's
Supper as part of a whole liturgical cycle (including Vespers  and  Matins)
is  now  completely  lost.   A 30-minute Sunday Mass brings Roman Catholics
together and teaches them of their faith.

        For centuries, this Mass had been heard only in Latin,  a  language
in which most lay Catholics were not fluent.  Consequently, when Vatican II
authorized vernacular Masses, changes in the prayers went unnoticed  except
by a few who pointed out that doctrine had been changed.  For instance, the
offering of  praise  to  the  Trinity  was  suppressed  and,  in  addition,
references  to God became vague and deistic, calling to mind the "Delta" or
Grand Architect of Freemasonry, rather than the God of Abraham,  Isaac  and

        The dogmatic title 'Mother of God' (in Greek Theotokos), so dear to
Orthodox  Christians,  and  also  to  Roman  Catholics  until recently, was
suppressed.  Other  omissions  appear  to  suppress  the  doctrine  of  the
communion  of  saints,  whose intercession is now rarely asked (such things
being left to the "discretion" of the individual priest).  Even  the  words
of Our Lord, spoken at the Last Supper, were altered in the "canon" of this
New Mass!  Perhaps this is  not  surprising,  when  one  remembers  that  a
millenium  ago the Roman Catholic Church considered it perfectly reasonable
to insert the FILIOQUE clause into the Creed, thus altering the doctrine of
the  Holy  Trinity and incurring the anathema of the Nicene Fathers who had
forbidden any tampering with the Creed.

        A true believer must be concerned about the TRUTH of  his  beliefs.
Catholic  traditionalists  realize this.  A true Christian is bound to know
and confess the dogma of the Trinity.  But if his beliefs about the Trinity
are  in error, HOW CAN HE KNOW GOD?  Perhaps it is beyond hope that liberal
Catholics could care one way or the other.  But what about those who  wish,
with every fiber of their being, to be IN THE TRUTH?

        Other changes in the prayers  of  the  Mass  are  too  numerous  to
mention  here.   But  in  general,  the whole emphasis was shifted.  As one
horrified Catholic priest, James Wathen, observed:  "Of  its  very  nature,
the  'New  Mass'  'liberates'  the 'children of God' that they might make a
GAME out of worship ...  intrinsic to the very idea of the  'New  Mass'  is
that  the  PEOPLE  are more important than Christ the Savior ...  Is it not
they who must be  entertained,  accommodated,  and  emoted  over?   In  the
incessantly  repeated phrase, "The People of God", it is the PEOPLE who, in
Marxist fashion are being acclaimed, not God ...  THEY HAVE BEEN GIVEN  THE

        More and more priests are using the New Mass  as  a  "setting"  for
incredible  "events".   To  cite one recent example, the Socialist-Feminist
(and pro-abortionist) leader Gloria Steinem accepted an invitation to speak
in  a  Catholic  Church  in  Minneapolis.   (She  reportedly boasted of the
"momentary delight" she had "at the thought of defiling the altar.") One of
the guests was a Methodist layman.  He was so scandalized by Miss Steinem's
remarks that he left in disgust, saying "They might as  well  invite  Satan
himself to preach at this church."

        The old axiom LEX ORANDI,  LEX  CREDENDI  (as  we  worship,  so  we
believe)  is  certainly  true.   The de-sacralized New Mass lends itself to
un-Christian ideas and behavior.

        Roman Catholics have now almost completely lost the ascetic spirit.
Whereas  Orthodoxy  still  proclaims  that  the  ESSENCE of Christianity is
asceticism, and to this end gives Orthodox Christians strict fasting  rules
as  a  STANDARD  for  Christian  life,  Catholicism  has  almost completely
abandoned any such idea.  To take fasting before Communion as an example --
when  I  was  a child in the Catholic Church, the faithful were required to
fast from all food and drink from the midnight  before.   Later,  this  was
changed  to three hours ...  and finally, in the wake of Vatican II, to one

        One Orthodox theologian says this about the Roman  Catholic  spirit
of  reform:   "The  papal  idea,  based  on the corrupt modern principle of
spiritual self-satisfaction, is either to  give  a  special  'dispensation'
from  the  standard...   or  else to change the standard itself so that the
believer can fulfill it easily, and thereby obtain a sense of  satisfaction
from  'obeying  the  law.'  This  is  precisely  the difference between the
Publican and the Pharisee:  the Orthodox man  feels  himself  constantly  a
sinner  because  he falls short the Church's exalted standard (in spirit if
not in letter), whereas 'modern' man  wishes  to  feel  himself  justified,
without  any  twinge  of  conscience  over  falling  short  of the Church's
standard" [Fr.  Seraphim Rose].

        In an "Open Appeal" to Paul VI,  Archbishop  Arrigo  Pintonello  of
Italy  stated:  "The seminaries and the pontifical universities, as is well
known, have become schools of immanentism, naturalism, and even Marxism and
atheism;  and  they  are  now  infecting  more  than  90%  of  the clergy."
Liturgical reform has spawned open attacks upon the very divinity of  Jesus
Christ.    A   Time   cover  story,  "New  Debate  over  Jesus'  Divinity",
summarized the "new" thinking:

        The German theologian, Hans Kung, the most famous  of  the  liberal
theologians,  now  teaches that the dogmatic definitions of Christ's divine
and human natures are OBSOLETE:  they must be "transferred  to  the  mental
climate  of  our own time." Apparently the "mental climate of our own time"
is Arian, for the Jesuit Piet Schoonenberg wishes to  completely  drop  all
reference   to  the  two  natures  of  Christ,  and  the  Dominican  Edward
Schillebeeckx says that Jesus was only a human  being  who  gradually  grew
"closer" to God.  Others now speak of the Savior as "a man elected and sent
by God."


        Pope Paul had asserted that "the thoughts of Chairman Mao  Tse-Tung
reflect Christian values." Archbishop Pintonello, in his appeal to the pope
wrote:  "The falsely ecumenical embrace gives  credibility  to  the  absurd
'discovery'  of  affinity and even identity between Christ and Marx." (But,
as the Rev.  Vincent Miceli says, this is not  surprising,  for  "once  the
liturgy  is  humanized,  Christ  becomes the humanist 'par excellence', the
liberator, the revolutionary, the Marxist ushering  in  the  millenium;  He
ceases to be the Divine Redeemer.")

        Catholic traditionalists wonder why Paul VI received with  all  due
honor  Communist  leaders  from  all  over  the  world,  yet would not give
audiences to traditionalists.  The answer is probably close to what Malachi
Martin  wrote  in his recent book, 'The Final Conclave', in which he boldly
predicted  that  the  election  of  Paul's  successor  would  be   strongly
influenced  by  Communists.  Martin, who was for years a Vatican "insider",
explains that Pope Paul and many of his Cardinals had abandoned  hope  that
Western  democracies  can  survive  the  coming onslaught of Communism (how
wrong they were).  Since they want to be on the "winning side",  they  were
seeking  a  rapprochement  with  both  existing  Communist  governments and
left-wing movements in the West.

        Reviewing   Martin's   book,   a   prominent   American    Catholic
traditionalist,  Walter  Matt, speaks of this Marxist infiltration into his
church and says that it is "not at all illusory":  "the actual presence  of
some  agents of Soviet Russia exists among the hierarchy of the Church." He
believes that institutional Catholicism  is  being  "pushed  nearer  to  an
abyss"  by  current  Vatican  policies.   Elsewhere, Dr. Matt writes:  "And
meanwhile our  spiritual  shepherds  either  sleep  or  play  the  game  of
compromise and detente with heresy and sin."


        Shortly after 'The Final Conclave' was published, Paul VI died  and
was  succeeded by Cardinal Luciana as Pope John Paul I. In spite of reports
that Luciana was a "reactionary", there were indictions that this  "quietly
genial  man"  was  not  all  he  seemed.  He was ready to continue with the
program of reforms launched by the Vatican Council.

        In this country, frank  Orthodox  reaction  to  John  Paul  may  be
summarized  by  this  brief  item from a Serbian Orthodox Newspaper:  "John
Paul I will be remembered in the Orthodox world because during a  visit  to
this pope and while in his study, Archbishop Nikodim of Leningrad died, the
biggest 'spy' in 'cassock' of the Soviet  Union,  and  an  officer  of  the
Soviet  Secret  Police (KGB).  Nikodim had been identified by KGB defectors
to the West as a Major- General in the First Chief Directorate of the  KGB.
For  reasons perhaps best known to Nikodim and John-Paul, this Soviet agent
was reportedly 'moved to tears' during the pope's inaugural Mass."

        John Paul's successor, Cardinal Wojtyla  of  Poland,  the  youngest
pope  in  centuries  and the first non-Italian since 1523, has proved to be
another "crowd-pleaser".  Like his predecessor, John Paul  II  is  said  to
want to continue the changes of Vatican II.


        It  is  shocking  for  Roman  Catholic  lay  people  to  learn  how
pervasively  wordly is the spirit of their church; to see the utter lack of
Gospel simplicity in the speeches of their leaders.  An  English  Catholic,
writing  to  a  newspaper,  said  it  well:   "We  are all sick to death of
socialists and progressives alike with their reforming ideas...  Indeed,  a
stranger  looking  into a Roman Catholic church  today would imagine he was
in a Protestant Reformed church...  It is indeed  something  to  thank  God
that the Eastern Orthodox Churches have refused to change anything and have
stuck to the old liturgies."

        Michael Davies, an English traditionalist, says that "during a time
of  general  apostasy,  Christians who remain faithful to their traditional
Faith may have to worship outside the official churches...  in order not to
compromise their traditional Faith."

        In order to achieve its ungodly ends, the revolutionary  spirit  in
the  Vatican  makes full use of the Church of Rome's legalism and obsession
for what is fashionable and "relevant",  Michael  Davies  makes  this  very
clear:   "Those  who  had initiated the revolution (in the Catholic Church)
were only too well aware of the fact that, provided their innovations could
be  imposed  as  orders  from above, they could be expect to encounter very
little effective opposition from priests  and  religious,  and  this  meant
virtually  no opposition at all.  The prevailing attitude was that the role
of the laity was to follow whatever lead the clergy gave them --  and  only
too  often  in  the history of the Church the lead given by the clergy, the
higher clergy in particular, has been to heresy and apostasy...   [Whereas]
upholding  the  faith  does  not consist simply of behaving as an automaton
programmed to carry out any and every  clerical  command...   [Progressives
think  of  ordinary believers] as 'a herd' which is 'straying apathetically
behind'  and  is  difficult  to  love.   The  ordinary   believer   is   'a
superstitious religious caterpillar.'"

        The Rev.  Mr. Wathen is appalled  at  the  "servility"  with  which
Catholics  have  accepted  the changes in liturgy, theology and policy.  He
exclaims:  "this truly is what our enemies may well describe as 'popery' in
the authentic sense of the word!  As if our religion were nothing more than
the dumb and  servile  fulfillment  of  the  pope's  mere  wishes,  totally
unrelated to morality...or even plain common sense."

        But what can such otherwise astute observers as Davies  and  Wathen
expect,  when  pope after pope emphasizes the "power" he holds as "Vicar of
Christ"?  Even John-Paul II lost no time in stressing the  "discipline"  of
the  clergy and the "obedience" of the laity.  The Vatican Council may have
wrought havoc by opening the door to countless new heresies, but it did not
fail to restate papal supremacy when it said:  "All this teaching about the
sacred primacy  of  the  Roman  Pontiff  and  of  his  infallible  teaching
authority,  this  sacred  Synod again proposes to be firmly believed by all
the faithful" [Article 18 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church].

        Wathen says that those Catholics who have accepted  compromise  and
heresy  "have  done  so under the mistaken notion that its introduction was
'legal', or at least apparently so, and therefore its acceptance  was  both
permissible  and  necessary."  This  legalism IS of course what the Western
Christians have inherited from the Schism of 1054, when  the  Latins  broke
away from the Orthodox Church.

        Quite a number of traditionalists have begun to see the  trap  into
which  they  have been led by legalism.  The question of obedience torments
them day and night.  They anguish endlessly over the  fact  that,  as  Matt
puts  it,  "liberal Catholics, neo-modernists, Marxists, etc, HAVE NOT BEEN
DISCIPLINED.  They have NOT been removed from their positions of power  and
influence" by those in 'legitimate authority'.


        So vast is the panic in the Roman Church that bishops  and  pastors
are  now  appealing  to  their  faithful on purely emotional grounds.  I've
heard a first-hand account of a sermon delivered in St. Patrick's Cathedral
in  New  York.   Talking  about  the present confusion, the priest told his
people that they must "stick with the pope no matter what -- for if they do
this,  they  "will  be  saved",  echoing  Boniface  VIII in his Bull, 'Unam
Sanctum' (1302 "It is necessary to salvation that every human  creature  to
be subject to the Roman Pontiff." This priest urged his flock to shut their
ears to those who criticize the pope and others in authority,  because  the
pope's power is "derived from St. Peter, who presided over the first Church
Council of Jerusalem."

        Of course, the average Catholic, accustomed to  believe  everything
he  hears from the pulpit, does not know that the pope could not derive his
position from St.  Peter  because  St.  Peter  did  not  possess  or  claim
universal  jurisdiction, primacy, infallibility, or any of the things popes
claim for themselves.  As I said at the outset, Catholics don't  know  this
because  they have, from youth, been told otherwise.  But if they have read
the Book of Acts, they would at least know that the  Council  of  Jerusalem
was  presided  over NOT BY ST. PETER, BUT BY ST. JAMES, the first Bishop of

        In any case, this priest stood before his people and told  them  to
keep  silent about the heresies in their church and "be obedient", and this
he justified with an untruth about the authority of the pope.  One  wonders
what  his  congregation  would  think  of the words of Pope St. Gregory the
Great, speaking about the title "Ecumenical" or "Universal":

        "What will you say to Christ, Who is  the  Head  of  the  Universal
Church,  in the scrutiny of the Last Judgement, having attempted to put all
His members under yourself by the appellation  of  Universal...   Certainly
Peter, the first of the apostles, himself a member of the Universal Church,
Paul, Andrew, John -- what were they but HEADS OF PARTICULAR COMMUNITIES...
And  of all the saints, not one has asked himself to be called Universal...
The prelates of the Apostolic See [that is, the bishops of Rome], which  by
the  providence  of God I serve, had the honor offered them of being called
Universal..  But yet NOT ONE OF THEM has ever wished to be called by such a
title, or seized upon this ill-advised name..."

        Here we have an Orthodox bishop of Rome and true pope, Gregory  the
Great,  called  the "Dialogist" by Orthodox Christians, a saint accepted by
BOTH Orthodox and Roman Catholics, one who possessed luminous intellectual,
spiritual,  administrative  and theological talents.  He opens his mouth to
speak on the subject of authority in the Church,  and  what  does  he  say?
Does he proclaim "All those in submission to me may be saved"?  Does he say
"Only I, as Bishop of Rome, may hold  the  title  'Universal',  because  my
'infallible  teaching  authority'  is  to  be  firmly  believed  by all the
faithful"?  He does not.  Quite the contrary, he speaks of  Peter  and  the
other  apostles  as being "but heads of PARTICULAR communities." He further
says that NOT ONE of his predecessors in the See of Rome had ever  presumed
to be called "Universal".

        We should compare this with Latin  Canon  law  (1325,par.2):   "If,
finally,  anyone denies that he is subject to the Supreme Pontiff, or if he
refuses communion with those members of the Church who are subject to  him,
he is schismatic." Would not St. Gregory the Great ask "Why?" No mention is
made in this Canon Law of fidelity to the dogmas of the  Faith,  to  Sacred
Tradition,  or  Church Councils -- only that one be "SUBJECT TO THE SUPREME
PONTIFF." How many holy fathers would rise up to ask,  "What  if  the  pope
teaches  heresy?"  Roman  Catholics  reply  that the pope is infallible; he
cannot teach error.  Yet it is a fact that popes have taught error.

        Our great Orthodox pastoral saint, John of Kronstadt,  said:   "The
cause  of  ALL THE ERRORS of the Roman Catholic Church is pride, and belief
that the pope is the real head of the church and, what is more, that he  is
infallible."  Clearly,  the Roman pontiffs are prepared and even willing to
accept modernist deviations of all sorts; any and everything, in fact, will
they  compromise or relinquish EXCEPT the very papacy itself.   Theologians
are allowed to blaspheme, and clergy are permitted to  espouse  Marxism  --
but the PAPACY rides on, unchanged, powerful, and still asking its claim to
be universality!  As Archimandrite Constantine of Jordanville has written:

        "The Catholic sees before him not only a picture of  the  crumbling
of  that  Whole  by which he was accustomed to exhaust his understanding of
Truth.  He sees a notorious, obvious, boundless transformation of the  very
concept  of  Truth,  which  finally  turns  out to be nothing more than the

        Because she has until recently existed outside  the  mainstream  of
Western  history,  culture  and  ideas,  Eastern  Orthodoxy  has  an unique
perspective and can give Roman  Catholics  an  objective  understanding  of
their  present  situation.   When  Catholics  ask  why this anti-Christian,
revolutionary spirit has  invaded  their  church,  we  Orthodox  Christians
reply:   Is  there  perhaps  an inner affinity between revolution and Roman
Catholicism, an affinity which Catholics cannot see  because  they  are  so
close to it?

        The 19th century Russian Orthodox layman and  writer,  Dostoyevsky,
understood  this  "inner  affinity"  quite  well  and wrote about it in his
"Diary of a Writer".  As a youth he had shared the socialist dream (and was
even  sent to Siberia for his political beliefs; during this exile he began
his conversion to Orthodoxy).  He has provided a succinct analysis  of  the
"affinity"  between  revolution  and  Roman Catholicism.  He saw the French
socialism of his day was  an  attempt  to  live  "without  Catholicism  and
without  its  gods -- a protest which actually began at the end of the last
century [at the time of the French Revolution]." But this "protest" against
Catholicism   was   actually  "nothing  but  the  truest  and  most  direct
continuation of the Catholic idea, its fullest, most  final  realization...
French  socialism  is nothing else but a COMPULSORY communion of mankind --
an idea which dates back to ancient Rome and which was fully  conserved  in

        In other words, the old pagan concept of universal  unity  of  'Pax
Romana',  has  survived  and  is  given  new strength by the Roman Catholic
Church because  the  Latin  Church...strives  for  UNIVERSAL  SOVEREIGNTY."
"Roman  Catholicism,  which  long ago sold out Christ for earthly rule, has
compelled mankind to turn away from itself; thus she is the prime cause  of
Europe's materialism and atheism...  Socialism has for its aim the solution
of the destinies of mankind not in accord with Christ, but without God  and
Christ."   Socialism,   says  Dostoyevsky,  was  inevitably  and  naturally
generated by the Catholic Church itself,  because  it  LOST  THE  CHRISTIAN

        He  further predicted  that  "the pope will go to all...on foot and
barefooted, and he  will  teach  them  that everything the socialists teach
and  strive  for is contained  in the  Gospel;  that up till  now the  time
had  not  been  ripe  for  them to learn  this;  but  that now the time has
come  and  he,  the  pope, will surrender Christ to them, saying: 'What you
need  is  a  united  front against the enemy.  Unite, then, under my power,
since  I  alone  --  among  all  the  powers and potentates of the world --
am UNIVERSAL; and let us go together!'"

        Dostoyevsky wrote these amazing words in 1877.  Pius  IX  was  then
pope; the 'Syllabus of Errors' had recently been issued; Catholicism was at
its most "reactionary", and socialism had been roundly condemned  from  the
papal  throne.   Dostoyevsky  was not an "oracle" -- he was simply a devout
Orthodox layman who  was  very  concerned  about  world  events  and  their
spiritual  meaning.   Thus, he was able to penetrate to the very essence of
Catholicism, the papacy.  We can see that his "prophecies" about  the  pope
are already coming true in our day.

        Lest anyone think I am exaggerating the role of the papacy, let  me
quote  from three contemporary non-Catholic papal sympathizers -- the first
a Jewish theologian, the second an Anglican bishop, and lastly  an  English
"ecumenical" news-weekly:

        1. Following the death  of  Pope  Paul,  Jacob  Neusner  commented:
"Paul made the papacy a truly 'international force', in a way which, before
his day, the world could not have imagined...[Paul] shaped a vision 'worthy
of the world's attention.'"

        2. Michael Marshall, the Anglican Bishop of Woolwich, went  a  step
further  when  he issued this appeal to non-Catholics in the summer of 1978
(BEFORE the death of Paul VI):  "For the day must surely come when all  the
Christians  are prepared to consider again...'a pope for all Christians'...
persuasions  today.  I cannot believe that history has permitted the papacy
to survive, unless it retains in some sense the  potentiality  of  being  a
VISIBLE HEAD of the Church on earth."

        3.  The  non-denominational  English  publication  Christian  World
announced  the  death of Pope John-Paul I with this large headline:  A POPE
FOR ALL CHRISTIANS.  The text spoke of how John-Paul's "sudden  death  hurt
the  whole  family  of  man."  It  concluded  with these words:  "His death
challenges the cardinals to continue the search for  a  pope  who  will  be
THEY BELONG TO.  This development of ecumenism is preparing the way  for  a
leader who can be a center of unity which is fully catholic."

        Who would have thought twenty, fifteen, or even ten years ago, that
non-Catholics  would  be sincerely wishing to be 'led' by the pope of Rome?
Is it possible that, after all these centuries, the papacy is close to  its
moment of greatest triumph?

        And is it only a coincidence that numerous heresies, both  old  and
new,  are, together with evil political ideas, CONVERGING on the person and
position of the bishop of Rome?  Is it  coincidence  that  the  news  media
(especially  television)  has given unparalleled coverage to the deaths and
elections of two recent popes -- with a world-wide  audience  estimated  at
one  billion?   Is  it by chance that for the FIRST time, Soviet television
has broadcast a "religious service" (the papal Mass from the Sistine Chapel
on  the day after John-Paul II's election)?  Is it a coincidence that among
those attending the inaugural Mass of John-Paul II were Donald Coggan,  the
Anglican  Archbishop  of Canterbury (the first time this has happened since
before the English Reformation), and numerous representatives or  heads  of
other non-Catholic churches?

        The bishop of Woolwich also  wrote  in  his  appeal  that  "it  all
depends  on  what  you  mean  by the papacy...  A 'pope for all Christians'
[does not] necessarily mean all the trappings of the medieval papacy."  Was
it  then  just  coincidental that the two successors of Paul VI disdained a
"coronation", laid aside the papal tiara,  the  ostrich-feather  fans,  and
other  "trappings of a medieval papacy" in favor of a "simple installation"
-- no longer "Supreme Pontiff", but now "only" the "UNIVERSAL SHEPHERD"?

        Political commentators like Leopold Tyrmand have for long  observed
that  Catholicism  has  become  "a  modish  fabric  around the left-liberal
principle" -- but now it has gone beyond that, for the  papacy  appears  to
have  the  "organizational task", according to Archimandrite Constantine of
Jordanville, "of preparing the throne of the antichrist."

        This last will be most repugnant to sensitive Roman Catholics.  But
it  is an honest and perceptive observation made by an Orthodox priest-monk
whose purpose is not at all to turn  Catholics  away  in  disgust,  but  to
awaken them to the REALITY of what is going on before their very eyes.

        Orthodox Christianity, which has been living for two thousand years
on  the  very  edge  of  eternity,  faced  over and over again with virtual
extinction by different conquerors and heretical movements, nourished  even
in  our  own  times  by  the  blood  of  martyrs, the myriad martyrs of the
Bolshevik oppression in Russia and the other countries  of  the  East,  has
survived  intact  and gloriously pure, her eyes focused steadily on the end
of the ages and the Second Coming of Christ.  As  a  result,  Orthodoxy  is
keenly aware of the meaning of contemporary events.

        She has preserved the ancient Scriptural prophecies, and  also  the
prophecies of many holy fathers and saints through the ages, concerning the
Last Days.  She knows that antichrist will come when the world is  at  last
united  and  ready  for  him.  That time is not yet here, but it is rapidly
approaching, and the papacy is the one institution in today's  world  which
can  and  does (as we have seen) command the attention of the entire world,
Christian AND non-Christian.  [Events of 1990 may be observed to make  even
these  words,  written  a dozen years ago, appear prophetic and more to the
point than ever].

        As Gary MacEoin observed:  "The Vatican is going to be in the world
limelight  in a NEW WAY." To what purpose?  In order to show forth the true
Christ, Who alone can forgive, heal and save?  Or will the world soon  hear
a voice saying, "Unite under MY power, since I alone am universal:  and let
us go together!"


        I have written at length about the doctrinal corruption,  left-wing
ideology,  and  even  scandal in the church of Rome.  This is, obviously, a
significant part of what is going on.   But  there  is  another  side,  one
scarcely spoken of today:  WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF ALL THIS ON HUMAN SOULS?

        Who can  calculate  the  toll  being  taken  among  so  many  Roman
Catholics  who  no longer feel that they belong to their old church?  Daily
life is so hard and its demands so great that deep distress occurs  when  a
man  no longer feels sure of where the truth is.  In a letter to the editor
of a national publication one Catholic wrote:  "It seems to  me  that  most
laymen  are  somewhat  lost...that  there  is a great emphasis on community
life, at the expense of a DEEPLY FELT PERSONAL SPIRITUAL LIFE."

        At some point, every man demands a satisfying insight into the pro-
found questions of life.  Increasingly, Catholics are recognizing that they
can no longer turn to their church for these answers; their sense  of fore-
boding,  frustration  and  insecurity  is extreme.  Where, they ask, is the
Truth?  Is it here, or there; with this bishop or that  pope?   Above  all,

        Dostoyevsky wrote, "the lost image of Christ, in all the  light  of
its  purity,  is  preserved  in  Orthodoxy."  This  is  my message to Roman
Catholic readers.  Orthodoxy is the Church you thought you belonged to when
you  were faithful to pre-Vatican II Catholicism.  But even then it was not
what it seemed:  your church is collapsing now because it started its  path
of apostasy a good nine centuries or more ago.

        For that reason, we Orthodox Christians are not surprised  at  what
we  see going on in today's Catholicism.  Like a branch, which has been cut
from the living tree, Rome had the outward  appearance  of  life  for  many
centuries  after the Schism, even though life-giving sap had ceased to flow
in her.  But now even the outward appearance testifies that this branch  is
truly  dead.   A  righteous  one  of  recent  times, Archbishop John of San
Francisco (+1966), described it this way:

        "While the Orthodox Church humbly confesses what  it  has  received
from  Christ  and  the  apostles,  the  Roman  Church  dares  to add to it,
sometimes from 'zeal not according  to  knowledge'[Rom  10:2].   That  "the
gates  of  hell  shall  not  prevail"  against  the  Church [Matt 16:18] is
promised only to the True, Universal Church; but upon those who have fallen
away  from  it are fulfilled the words, "As the branch cannot bear fruit of
itself, except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye, except ye abide  in
Me [Jn 15:4]."

        Speaking about this, Fr.  Nicholas Deputatov writes:  "Falling away
from  the  Orthodox  Church  leads  to the cessation of spiritual life, the
cessation of development, of the growth of moral personality, and leads  to
spiritual  death.   Only in the Church is it possible to have happiness and
blessedness as the consequence of inward perfection."

        More than one Catholic has found comfort  in  these  words  of  the
great  Orthodox  Father,  St. Basil the Great:  "Those of the laity who are
sound in faith avoid the places of worship as schools  of  impiety...   The
people  have  left  their  houses  of prayer and assemble in the deserts...
because they will have no part in  the  wicked  Arian  leaven."  Increasing
numbers of Roman Catholics are applying these words to their own situation,
starting "underground" chapters all over the world.

        But I must say to you, avoid your "places" of impiety" as you value
your  souls.  But seek also to be joined to the ORTHODOX FAITH to which St.
Basil, whom you value, gave undying witness by his life and writings!   The
Orthodox Church IS the Catholic Church, in the full and true meaning of the
word.   She  has  never  departed  from  the  revealed  Faith,  and   never
compromised  the  Truth.   Fr.   Nicholas  says  that "she has not bartered
Orthodoxy, in order to become fashionable among men, to  be  recognized  by
the  powerful  of  this  world.   No; in poverty and in the humility of her
earthly banishment she went out over the whole face of the  earth,  singing
of  the  heavenly  calling  of all peoples to the Kingdom of Christ, not of
this world.  And now, being filled up with new tribes and  generations  (in
the  diaspora), she bears the triumphant banner of the greatest value given
to man on earth:  True, undistorted Orthodoxy."

        It is in this Church that you will at last find Christ, in  all  of
His  radiant  and  pure  Divinity,  for,  even  more than correct doctrine,
Orthodoxy teaches the very WAY TO SALVATION!  In  the  words  of  the  late
Archbishop Andrew of Novo-Diveyevo(+1978):  "The most important thing is to
create a pure heart and keep it that way.  Here there can  be  no  talk  of
reforms.   The  Lord Himself has already given us everything needful in His
Church." Archbishop Andrew remembered what his own teacher, the clairvoyant
Elder  Nectarius  of  Optina  Monastery,  had told him at the height of the
Russian Revolution, when everything was collapsing around them:  "It is the
Divine that must be our concern; it must enter into all sides of our life."
Thus, in utter simplicity,  the  Orthodox  fathers,  saints,  ascetics  and
martyrs  of  all  ages can show you HOW TO BELIEVE, how to acquire the Holy
Spirit of God, and how to save your soul.

        Many of you will think that my confession of Orthodoxy is  just  my
own  opinion  (in  which  case  it  would  be worth nothing).  It is not my
opinion; it is the experience of the apostles and saints from the  earliest
times until our own:  the Orthodox Church is not nourished by opinion or by
what is "fashionable", but by the living experience  of  the  saints.   The
saints  and fathers actually LIVED the experience of God; this enabled them
fully to express the spiritual beauty of Christ's Church and witness to it.
As St. John of Kronstadt writes:  "The holy men of God would not betray the
Faith by even so much as a word."

        If you wonder about  what  has  been  written  here,  but  are  not
convinced,  then turn to God and His all-pure Mother in prayer, fasting and
tears.  Ask God about Orthodoxy, and He will reveal the truth to  you  just
as  He  has revealed it to countless others.  As pious Roman Catholics, you
sought true life and spiritual food.  You grieve and weep now  because  for
nourishment  you  are being given stones instead of bread.  But St. John of
Kronstadt also says:  "The food of the mind is truth; the food of the heart
is  blessedness."  Therefore,  come to the Orthodox Church:  "she will give
you all this in plenty, for she possesses it superabundantly.  She  is  THE
PILLAR  AND  GROUND  OF  THE  TRUTH, because....  she teaches the way which
leads to eternal life."

        Orthodoxy is calling to you:  COME UNTO ME, ALL YE THAT  LABOR  AND