YOU ARE NOT A CHURCH – YOU ARE A HERESY (Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus replies to the Papist Bishop of Syros Island)



From the Greek newspaper “ORTHODOX PRESS

Issue of 9th November 2007

In a letter addressed to the newspaper “ORTHODOX PRESS”, the Papist Bishop of Syros Island expressed “very austere” criticisms against the Piraeus Metropolitan, who had stated that Papism was the “founder of atheism”. The Papist Bishop also characterized the newspaper as “relentless” as regards its positions against the Papists.

Towards the end of June 2007, the “Orthodox Press” in one of its articles had praised the presence of, as well as the work accomplished by, the Reverend Metropolitan of Piraeus, fr. Seraphim.  However, at the suggestion of its readers, he was invited to clarify his position on the matter of Papism, because the faithful had not heard him speak on this issue.  The Reverend Metropolitan responded, in a written statement, which our newspaper had published as a central article, in its 6/7/2007 issue.

In that statement, the Metropolitan had stressed that the Orthodox Church ought to cease its theological dialogues with the Papists and other heretics; he spoke against Ecumenism and he proclaimed that Papism –as a heresy– had laid the foundations for atheism.

These statements made by the Metropolitan in the newspaper had taken place during the time that the Archbishop Christodoulos was being hospitalized in the “Aretaeion” Hospital, and his entourage had expressed its annoyance with the positions of the Metropolitan of Piraeus. Equally annoyed, however, were the Papists. Because the Metropolitan had not characterized them as “schismatics”, as many hierarchs see fit to, but instead, he referred to them as “heretics”.

This annoyance also became evident in the letter that the Papist Bishop of Syros Mr. Franciscos Papamanolis had addressed to the Rev. Metropolitan of Piraeus.  In his letter, he “admonished” the Orthodox Metropolitan for the positions he had stated in the “Orthodox Press” newspaper, characterizing the newspaper as “relentless” as compared to those of other Christian confessions and of Ecumenism, but also for its “remonstrative tendency” towards the decisions of the Holy Synod and of Hierarchs.

The Papist Bishop “accused” the Metropolitan of Piraeus of splintering the Hierarchy of Greece, because he had expressed views that oppose theirs on the matter of Papism and Ecumenism; furthermore, that he was also in direct opposition to the Archbishop’s positions, which he had expressed while in the hospital.

In the same letter – and as a true child of the Vatican – he “discovers” the diplomacy of “love” intended for unification, and he extols everything that is ecclesiastically and theologically observed in Tinos Island.  He also stresses that everything the Metropolitan of Piraeus supports originates from centuries-long prejudices, from incorrect views regarding the Papists’ teachings, and from a lack of proper acquaintance between them.

The Metropolitan’s response is “dynamic”; it is documented and intensely Patristic. This indicates that the Metropolitan of Piraeus will not sacrifice the Truth of the Orthodox Faith for the sake of the “diplomacy of love”, thus remaining faithful to the legacies of our Saints and our God-bearing Fathers.  In his response, the Metropolitan of Piraeus:

*      defends the “Orthodox Press” for the positions that it upholds against Papism and Ecumenism by underlining that the Papist Bishop is being grievously unjust to our newspaper; also because the “Orthodox Press” preserves everything that the Orthodox Church has dogmatized on;

*      proclaims that Papism is a heresy – not a Church – and that the Papist Bishop is in a fallacy;

*      points out that love without truth lacks essence and is rendered meaningless;

*      poses a series of questions, indicative of why Papism became a heresy;

*      reminds him of the hecatombs of those murdered by “your Heresy”, both during the period of the “holy Inquisition”, the Crusades and the wars, but also in Croatia, where the Vatican was entirely responsible for the bloodbath of 800.000 Orthodox Serbs;

*      also reminds him of other murderous acts of Papism, by which it murdered even God;

*      points out by means of examples the Papist cacodoxies;

*      proves that Papism alters the ethos, it warps the New Testament and it perverts salvation, which “the sacrificed Son and Logos of the Father introduced, because of such untheologized dogmas”;

*      underlines the “perversions” of Papism, which have rendered it a heresy.

*      calls upon the Papist Bishop himself as well as his self-proclaimed “church” to return, “to the One and Only Body of Christ, and he shall find mercy and pardon.”

The Papist Bishop’s letter

Herebelow is the exchange of correspondence between the Papist Bishop and the Metropolitan of Piraeus.  The Papist’s letter is as follows:

Catholic Episcopate of Syros

Protocol No.17007

Ano Syros, 25th July, 2007.

To the Reverend Mr. Seraphim, Metropolitan of Piraeus,


Reverend Brother,

It is with great pain that I read in the newspaper “Orthodox Press” of July 6th of this year your published letter with reference to “ecumenism” and to “Papism” and consequently to the Catholic Church. The aforementioned newspaper is well known for its extreme positions with the criticism it directs against Hierarchs and at times against the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, whenever the decisions of those “whom the Spirit has placed as bishops to minister to the Church of the Lord, which is nourished by His very Blood” (Acts 20:28) are not pleasing to the editors of the newspaper. Even more so, the aforementioned newspaper maintains extreme positions whenever it refers to other Christian Churches and confessions, and especially to the Catholic Church.

But this is the first time – if my memory does not deceive me (as I am 20 years older than you in age) – that I have read a text by an Orthodox Bishop who has acted in such a hostile manner towards the Catholic Church (e.g.: ”Papism laid the foundations of atheism” – I believe that no-one has ever before written such a thing).

My reverend Brother, far be it for me to have any trace of hostile rivalry. Permit me, with very much love, to express my own opinion with brotherly frankness.

1. You are aware, Reverend, that it is the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ that His disciples must all be “one”, just as He is “one” with the Father (John 17:1). Unfortunately, we His disciples are not “one”. For whatever has taken place in the past, I personally do not feel any responsibility, nor do I think that you or someone else of our time feels responsible.  However, as a Christian, and more so as a Bishop of the Church, we feel a responsibility towards the present and the future, and consequently, I am doing whatever I can to contribute towards the union of Christians.  This is not my own choice, but a commandment that the Lord has imposed on me.  In our work for the union, love is a necessity.  I have been serving the Church as Bishop for 33 whole years; I have never stopped telling my faithful that nothing ever justifies the overlooking of love – not even the defending of the Truth itself.

2. I am deeply convinced that the difficulties that exist in the work towards the unification of Christians originate from a lack of familiarity between us; your letter has now confirmed this opinion of mine. Reverend, we need to admit that we Christians are not well acquainted with each other. This lack of familiarity has created in the past and has preserved in the present all the prejudices of the one side towards the other, without these being supported in any way. Quite often, there have been teachings which have been attributed to the “other” Church, which are merely conjectures. Permit me to tell you that what you have written and presented as the teaching of the Catholic Church is not being taught by the Catholic Church, just as it did not –and does not- teach all that has been written in school books for Religious Studies and History during the recent past, which has poisoned the innocent souls of students and has cultivated intolerance.

You may have heard of the good relations that exist among the Orthodox and the Catholics in Syros Island. This is not an achievement of mine, or of the Reverend Metropolitan, or of the two together; it is the fruit of the familiarity that exists between Orthodox and Catholics in Syros.  We, the Bishops of the island, restrict ourselves to giving witness of love to our faithful, as well as mutual respect. Living together in a small area contributes towards mutual familiarity, not only the social kind, but also the religious kind.  50% of our families are mixed families; woe betide us pastors, if we were to preach hatred and cultivate fanaticism! The families of our island would be turned, from nests of love into nests of fanaticism, which would break them apart. Our faithful, from both dogmas (either because they are present in our temples, or through local Television) hear and observe our activities, so they know, they judge, and they live happily together. Indeed, mutual familiarity, Reverend, can destroy prejudices and create union. 

3. But what saddened me most in your letter was the fact that it betrays a disruption between the Hierarchs of the Church of Greece. The content of your letter is in direct opposition to His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Mr. Christodoulos, with whose hand-placing you were ordained Bishop. I have in hand all the addresses and statements that His Beatitude had made in Rome last December. When comparing His Beatitude’s texts with your letter, I came to wonder what the Ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church is, because the matter of whether the Catholic Church is a Church or a heresy, is not simply a difference of opinion (a natural phenomenon between people), but a disruption of faith.

4. And one final point. Your letter was published while His Beatitude was still in hospital with his health still in a very grave condition. A letter such as this, with such a serious content, I do not believe he was aware of, before it was published in a newspaper.

Reverend Brother, I do not know if I have saddened you, but I do want you to be certain that I have written with immense love for the Church.

Please accept my brotherly greeting and my wishes for a fruitful pastorate in your Ecclesiastic Eparchy of Piraeus.


Catholic Bishop of Syros, Thera and Crete

The Metropolitan’s response

The Metropolitan of Piraeus’ reply was as follows:

The Metropolitan of Piraeus, Seraphim

Piraeus, the 25th October, 2007.

To His Eminence the Bishop Franciscus Papamanolis,

In Syros.

Your Eminence,

I received Your letter, at a time when the Offices of the Piraeus Metropolis were closed and so I am sorry for delaying my reply to it. I therefore ask You to forgive me.

Because I truly love You, just like every other fellow-human, I am writing the following with much humility before the Builder of the Church, Jesus Christ, not so that I might justify the positions for which you have criticized me (because they are not mine, they are the positions of the Indivisible Church of God, which I, the least of all, have merely transferred them onto paper, when asked by the journalist media of the vigilant Brotherhood of the Pan-Hellenic Orthodox Union, whom you have grievously wronged when you characterized them as supposedly being “extremists”, when in fact they are simply adhering to what the One, Holy, Indivisible Catholic and Apostolic Church has dogmatized and proclaimed for the past twenty (20) centuries), but so that I might tell You what is self-understood: that the Church of Christ “where the Spirit placed bishops to minister to Her, and which is nourished by His very Blood” (Acts 20:28) is the indivisible Church of the 1000 first years; whose unbroken historical continuation was our Orthodox Catholic Church, and that by breaking away from Her, Your religious Community, through the familiar schism, lost the Grace of the Living God and lapsed from heresy to heresy and from indecency to indecency, having distorted the salvific message of the incarnated Son of God and overthrown with words and acts the overthrown established structures and authorities of the fallen world to which the Son and Logos of God had contributed, with His unfathomable Crucifixional sacrifice and His Immaculate Blood.

Therefore it is understood that the theory of “sister churches” and the “branch theory” thereafter, which You have espoused through the text of Your letter and the “Peter dogma” which Your Religious Community proclaimed recently through its encyclical “Dominus Christ”, are in no way associated with the Indivisible Church of the Apostles, of the Ecumenical Fathers and the Holy Seven Ecumenical Synods.

Consequently, you can easily perceive how, by following the decisions of the Indivisible Church, from Which Your heresy-fallen Religious Community severed itself, I am not able to accede to your fallacy and not say to You in brotherly love that You are deluded by considering Yourself a “Bishop of the Church of God”. You have personally defined yourself in this manner, when the truth is that You are spiritually accountable for the faithful of Your community who remain in the schism and the heresy.

Love, without Truth, is altogether deprived of any essence, which is why Your position that “I have never stopped telling my faithful that nothing ever justifies the overlooking of love – not even the defending of the Truth itself” seems truly inexplicable; because, if we truly love someone, we do not abandon the one we love in his pitiful state of delusion, allowing him to also drown in it by believing that he is not in the wrong.

For one entire millennium we had a common Faith, a common Polity, a common Eucharist, common Dogmas, common Spirituality and God-oriented ascesis, with the Ecumenical Synods and the Pentarchy as our common Authority.

So, what exactly happened, that overturned everything?

Why didn’t this matter preoccupy You during all the 33 years that You were Bishop of Your Religious admission?

Why is it, that for a  thousand  years, these positions regarding the Pope of Old Rome’s Primacy in jurisdiction, on his Infallibility, on Purgatory, on Indulgences, on thesaurus meritorum , on Immaculate Conception,…on….on…. were nonexistent?

Why is it, that in the Apostolic Synod of Jerusalem, it was the Council of the Apostles and the Presbyters who had opined, and not the (according to You) “President of the Collegium” of the Apostles, the Divine Apostle Peter (Acts 15:22)?

Why did the Seven Ecumenical Synods convene in the East, in communion and in unity with the (then) Orthodox Bishop of Old Rome?

Why does the 28th Canon of the 4th Ecumenical Synod of the Undivided Church bestow equal honor to the Throne of Old Rome as well as of New Rome?

When and why were these things overthrown? Didn’t they preoccupy You, if not as a clergyman, at least as a thinking person who is in anticipation of the “eighth day” and who knows that the end of human things is nigh, for each one of us?

And what will You have to say, I wonder, to the Builder of the Church, the Lord, for the hecatombs of people who were murdered by Your Heresy (“Holy Inquisition”, “Holy Wars”, “Crusades”) in the name of a supposed purity of the faith, when you condescend and do not separate Your position from all these crimes – but even more importantly – from the overturning of the message of freedom, of love, of the otherness of the son of God Who was sacrificed on the Cross so that the blaspheming person would not die?

Recently, You beatified the cardinal Augustine Stepinac of Zagreb, Croatia – the moral perpetrator behind the fascist “Ustasi” hordes of Ante Pevelic (whom the Vatican helped to escape to Latin America) and the bloodbath of 800.000 Orthodox Serbs. I did not see You protest then, nor separate Your position, even though You have been ministering to the “Church of Christ” for 33 years.  If that insensitive and cold-blooded murderer is recognized as “blessed”, then the “God” who would acknowledge him as such, is – to us – entirely useless; he is unnecessary; he does not concern us. That is why I wrote the thing that embittered You, being fully aware of what I wrote; that is, that “Papism led to atheism”. It initially led to Protesting and to atheism afterwards, because it came to worship a God who was the moral perpetrator of crimes, religious wars, hecatombs of blood and suffering. Should I remind You of the 29.000 slaughtered Huguenots, on the tragic night of Saint Bartholomew?  Should I remind You of the hecatombs of the so-called 100-year religious war?  What should I begin to tell You? Who was it that burnt Joan of Lorraine at the stake? The Holy inquisition – that is, the Papal Throne – burnt her as someone demon-possessed, and later on, it beatified her. I will repeat – slightly altering – the question posed by my blessed elder, the precedent Archbishop Seraphim: Are these the actions of a Church that acts as treasurer of Divine Revelation? Those who truly love You have the obligation to tell You the truth of the Church, otherwise, they will be leaving You in the fallacy of Your beliefs, without any concern for Your eternal future.  For this reason, I unshakeably believe that the participation of the Church in your movements in Europe and elsewhere, as well as in the so-called “Theological Dialogues”, is firstly detrimental to You and to Your faithful, because it gives You a false taste of a presumed recognition as well as cover for Your slip-ups, and it will leave You in the darkness of Your vain dogmas.

You reason in Your letter that the dogmatic positions that are discerned in my letter to Your Religious Community, are –supposedly- “conjectures”, by writing characteristically: “Permit me to tell you that what you have written and presented as the teaching of the Catholic Church is not being taught by the Catholic Church, just as it did not –and does not- teach all that has been written in school books for Religious Studies and History during the recent past, which have poisoned the innocent souls of students and have cultivated intolerance.”  

Instead of any other reply to Your –permit me to say– inaccurate and therefore pejorative to my humble person references, I shall quote two paragraphs only, out of the endless cacodoxies of Your Religious Community, from the book “Catechesis of the Catholic Church” (Vatican-Cactos Publications 1996 – Cactos – Liberia Editrica Vaticana – Apostolic Clause “The Trust of the Faith” – Fidei Depositum) which is in circulation.

On page 332 is stated: 

III. The final purification or Purgatory. 1030. All those who die in grace and in the friendship of God, but without being purified thoroughly, even though they may be certain of their eternal salvation, they are subjected after death to a purging, so that they can attain the required holiness to enter into the joy of heaven” and on page 454 it says:

 “X. Indulgences. 1471. The teaching and the practice of Indulgences in the Church is closely tied to the outcome of the Sacred sacrament of Repentance.

Indulgences are an absolution before God of the temporary punishment of crimes, whose guilt has already been erased; an absolution that the well-intentioned and under specific conditions faithful will succeed in obtaining through the activity of the Church, which, being the steward of redemption, distributes and imposes with its authority the treasure of the merits of Christ and of the Saints.  Indulgences can be applied to the living, as well as the dead.

Is it, or isn’t it true, that through these dogmatic positions the juridical element was introduced into the Church? That the salvific work of the Lord of Glory is presented like a case of give-and-take between Man and his Creator? Isn’t the Lord of mercy – Who is not in need of anything and is unaffected by passions and beyond every worldly influence – blatantly insulted, by being presented as a stern and unkind judge?

The overall ethos has being altered; the New Testament – that New Constitution between God-World-Man has being warped; also warped is Salvation, which was introduced by the sacrificed Son and Logos of the Father; all on account of these untheologized teachings.

So, my references to your cacodoxies are merely “conjectures”?

Can You explain (on the basis of the deductions of Your aforementioned tragic beliefs), why the tax-collector and the prodigal son were vindicated, and not the Pharisee and the elder son of the parable?  Furthermore, how is it, that without any form of satisfaction being implemented, or any act of repentance, the adulteress who was caught in the act was acquitted of the legal punishment of stoning? And how was it that the first inhabitant of Paradise happened to be a robber on the Cross?  And most importantly, can there be any room for juridical reporting of one’s labors in His Vineyard? Have You forgotten His own words regarding “wretched servants”?

This letter of mine is not a diatribe or a study of the endless cacodoxies of Your Religious Community, so, accordingly, I am merely making certain observations in it. Of the vast number of Your fallacies, I have selected one more, which You have clothed with a dogmatic validity. I am referring to the new dogma on the supposed Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos, which was proclaimed as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in the year 1854, and, so that you don’t doubt one more time that this is a teaching of Yours, I shall quote from the aforementioned Catechesis book the pertinent reference in page 163:

491. During the passing centuries the church became aware that Maria, the one who was “Grace-endowed” by God, had been “purchased” from the time of her conception. This is confessed by the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854:  the blessed, ever-virgin Maria from the first moment of Her conception, by the grace of an exceptional favour of Almighty God, in view of the merits  of Jesus Christ Saviour of the human race, was preserved intact from every trace of the original sin.

If this cacodoxy on the “immaculate conception” of the Ever-virgin Theotokos was true, can You inform us how She transmitted human mortality to the incarnated perfect Person, the exempt of sin and perfect God-Son of Hers? Have You ever stopped to consider that if this fallacy of Yours were indeed true, then the death of the Son of God would have to be an “assumed” one, since mortality would not have been transmitted into His human nature?  Can You perceive just how tragic Your beliefs are?

You are right to feel poemantic responsibility for the present and for the future. However, You made no mention whatsoever of the mistakes of the past, acknowledging them as mistakes. Many of them are being continued. Could it be, that by acknowledging the errors of the past, Papal “infallibility” will be shaken?  Unfortunately, we are condemned if we do not acknowledge the mistakes of the past and also if we repeat them in the future, for which You feel poemantic responsibility and sensitivity, as You mentioned.   For all these aforementioned things, what is recommended is humility, love, and divine enlightenment – all of which are incompatible with the diabolical infallibility by which Ecclesiology and the Polity of the Indivisible Church have been subverted.

Finally, another paragraph of Your letter was considered unacceptable, where an attempt was made –by means of interpretational acrobatics- to sow discord and dissent with His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Mr. Christodoulos, who is well known for his courteousness, his reconciliatory mien and his genuine feelings of love; thus, Your letter is exceeding its limits, given that it is invoking the untimeliness of our letter in connection to the illness of His Beatitude, who –despite Your interpretations– remains unshakeable and steadfast in the words of Father Kosmas of Aetolia, patriarch of the Neo-Hellenic Nation whom he frequently invokes, and who always speaks knowledgeably and clearly, just like many Holy Martyrs and Fathers of the Church did – from Saint Mark of Ephesus and Holy-Martyr Cyril I Loukareos, up to the Serb neo-martyrs of the XX (20th) century, who blamed the abased Papal Throne and its Heresy-leader (on account of the fallacy), the Primate of the Throne.

I would like to close these words, asking You to depart from the Latin cacodoxy and return to the Indivisible Catholic Church of the first 1000 years, whose Faith, Theology, Ascesis, Spirituality, Polity, Truth and Tradition have been continued through Time by Her historical extension: the Orthodox Catholic Church.  Remove from Your eyes the haze of the 1000-year long cacodox life, and incorporate yourself into the One, Holy, Apostolic, Indivisible Catholic Orthodox Church, Whom “the gates of Hades cannot conquer”, so that You may return to the One and Only Body of Christ and thus find mercy and pardon.

In anticipation of Your return, we sincerely remain,

With profound love and wishes.

The Metropolitan

† Seraphim of Piraeus

The content of the Reverend Metropolitan’s letter is staggering, because it has defended the struggles of the Saints and the God-bearing Fathers, who had strived to convince Papism to abandon its fallacies.

G. Zervos.

Translated by:

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