The difference between Orthodox and heretics
in… medical terms
And why common prayers are senseless
Source: “Empirical Dogmatics of the Orthodox Catholic Church according to the oral lessons of Fr. J. Romanides” – Vol.B
By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Saint Vlassios
A previous article had shown that, just as there is a difference between truth and heresy, so is there a difference between Orthodox and heretics. Just as the dogmas are formulated by specific individuals – the Theumens – so are heresies formulated by philosophizing theologians.
The Orthodox Fathers are familiar with the terminology that pertains to God, but they also know the method necessary to achieve a personal knowledge about God.
«The Theumen knows how he uses the terminology that pertains to God and does not allow himself or his catechumens nor his spiritual children to fall into the error of believing that they can possibly conceive of God through logic».
The difference between Orthodox and heretics should be defined using medical terminology. The Orthodox Fathers are true scientist-physicians, whereas heretics, who use another method (speculation), are by comparison “quacks” (fake physicians).
«In the Middle Ages, the difference between Orthodoxy and heresy was very familiar to the governors. What was the difference? The difference is quite simple: that in heresy, there is no cure for man’s Nous (mind). In Orthodoxy however, there is a cure for a human’s personality – proof of this, being the Saints.
Heretics were something equivalent to quacks, inasmuch as they promised a certain life after death. However they did not provide any therapy to their faithful in this life, nor did they promise anything other than one more superstition. Heresies were also post-mortem religions. “Heretic” was the one whose dogmas were not Orthodox, thus hindering him from attaining catharsis (cleansing) and enlightenment. Orthodoxy, however, does offer therapy, and does lead a person towards catharsis and enlightenment».
«What was the difference between the Orthodox and the heretics? The former had the necessary therapy of noetic energy, catharsis, enlightenment and deification, whereas the latter did not. That was the difference between them. In heresy, there is no proper therapy».
«If one acquires the Patristic hermeneutical keys, it is from this aspect that the Orthodox can be discerned from the heretical – the basic criterion being success. Faith’s “success” is man’s cure; that is to say, the Orthodox tradition had an actual cure, proof of which was that very state of enlightenment – a state that did not exist in heretics. That was the problem. The criterion was there; viz.: some were incurable and others were cured. So, just as today we would discern between “quacks” and actual physicians (with the criteria of catharsis, enlightenment and deification – which were not found in heretics), likewise, it was per that same criteria, that the State had decreed that heretics are quacks”».
«Most heretics – if you were to examine the lives of heretics – you would see that they were usually pleasant people. If they weren’t pleasant people, they would not have gained followers. And they certainly couldn’t have been… (what do you call those who mislead others?)… they couldn’t have been rabble-rousers; because a rabble-rouser is usually one who is a smooth talker, who convinces by using pressure, who says nice things, who preoccupies himself with fancy words, and whose heresies are accepted by the people – because their heresies are camouflaged, usually within attractive words. Otherwise, if one were to say unpleasant things, how would he be able to attract followers? He would of course gather followers by saying nice things, isn’t that right? He has a seemingly appealing exterior, a seemingly truthful appearance – in other words, just like a quack».
The heretics who have been convicted by – or who have alienated themselves from – the Church, do not belong to the Body of the Church. This is the reason the Orthodox do not participate in common prayer with the heterodox-heretics.
The members of the Church congregate, so that they can pray as Her members. The Church prays specifically for each and every circumstance; that is, She prays collectively for those striving for cleansing, that they may attain catharsis and be led towards deification; and for the theumens, that they may be led from glory to glory.
Thus, the Church also prays for the heretics, that they may return to the Orthodox faith. In the Divine Liturgy of Basil the Great there is the following prayer: «…Lead back the deluded ones, and reunite them to Your holy, catholic and Apostolic Church…».
«If we have a Spiritual Father – who has attained the state of enlightenment and possesses the noetic prayer (the Jesus Prayer) – is it proper for us to sit down and pray for his enlightenment? That would be entirely inappropriate – in fact it is stupid. That is why we should pray according to the state that one is. This, according to the Fathers, means that there are ways for us to know exactly where each one is, and to pray accordingly.»
When one has all these things in mind, he can then see the folly of contemporary Orthodox who participate in common prayer with the heterodox: not that the heterodox are bad people… no, they are not bad people; it is simply a thousand times more appropriate for us to pray FOR the heterodox; THAT is what is imperative for us. But to pray WITH them? What would be the meaning of such a thing?
Since we cannot pray in common if we are in the state of enlightenment, then we cannot pray in common even with catechumens; we cannot pray in common with the excommunicated, we cannot pray in common with those who are in the class of penitents.
We pray FOR the heretics, but we do NOT pray WITH them.
The reason for this, is that the Church always prays as a Body, during Worship and the Mysteries.