Let’s look at a typical story from the Gerontikon:
“A brother asked Abba Poemen: ‘I am suffering the loss of my soul by being with my abba. What do you order me? Should I continue to stay with him?’ And Abba Poemen knew that his soul was being harmed by his abba, and was astonished that he asked whether he ought to stay with him. And he said to him: ‘If you want to stay, do so.’ And the brother went away and stayed with his abba.
“But he came a second time to Abba Poemen, and said: ‘I am burdening my soul.’ And Abba Poemen did not say to him: ‘Leave the abba.’ He came a third time, and said: ‘Believe me, henceforth I shall no longer stay with him.’ And the Geronda said: ‘Now you are saved; come, and stay with him no longer.’ And he went on: ‘A man who sees his soul being harmed, has no need to ask. A man ought to ask about his secret thoughts, to get them tested by the elders. But there is no need to ask about obvious sins: they must at once be cut off.”1
It is obvious that the teachings of guruistic Gerondism, which is largely a Greek “patent” of the last decades and have become sold out by today’s technological means, have nothing to do with the Gospel and have nothing to do with the traditional monasticism which has been expressed with absolute precision through books such as the Ladder of St. John the Sinaite, the Gerontikon, and the Philokalia. In ecclesiastical writings, one frequently finds the limits of obedience indicated. The examination here of only the Ladder and Gerontikon is for brevity.
In Orthodox monastic obedience, the body is dead and the mind alive. In New-Age obedience, the body is alive (alive for accuracy, especially sexually) and the mind is dead (i.e., man-made robots, zombies, subjects of guru mind-control). This is the Hindu type of “dispassion” or “death” (usually attributed to the term “detachment”; “decoupling”) taught in numerous occult books.
Also, the Orthodox monastic obedience has the meaning of ascesis, of self-denial and love, and has the Gospel as a criterion. Whereas the other obedience, which is why it is more “trendy”, has the meaning of irresponsibility, of indulgence, selfishness, sexual perversion—which is sometimes obvious and sometimes not (many times is latent and hiding behind the mask of “divine love” or “devotion to the Elder”)—and the avoidance of one acquiring a correct relationship with God and neighbor. The New Age subordinate is trained in such a way as to silence and kill his conscience, so as not to care about anything and anyone, beyond the adulation and various other abomination “privileges” which he finds near the “Elder.” This kind of “monk” is willing to trample all the commandments of God (e.g. honor towards mother and father, which is something very basic in the eyes of God, and, as is widely known, the prohibition of prostitution, greed, fraud, utilitarian approach and treat others etc.) for the sake of “Elder”, but also of himself. In other words, he becomes totally insensitive. Often, indeed, he convinces himself that he is “the Chosen One of God.” While the role of the monk, according to Christian tradition, is praying for the world, today it is thought he is the one to offer worship to the “Elder” or behave like an infatuated teenage girl who wants to “steal” with the “Elder” or even with Christ, who in the minds of many is confused with the “Elder”. A modern “monk” is trained, among other things, to face him with a perverse and wicked love, for which reason eternal hell awaits him if he doesn’t change course.
Let’s look at the issue of honor towards father and mother in the following Gospel passage from the Gospel:
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” (Matthew 15:1-20)
The characteristic of occultism is the flattening of the person and the fragmentation of interpersonal relationships (both with God and with neighbor, e.g. family). Even love is taught as a Hindu type egotistic “state” in which simply “includes” the others, and not as an essential interpersonal relationship and society. In occultic love, almost every “other” is replaceable. In the minds of those people, namely, the leader is “not (or almost not) irreplaceable”. Occultic love is essentially impersonal love. And it is not love, but hedonism, i.e., exploitation, which is not infrequently mutual. The Neo-Orthodox “love” is known not out by duty, but by pleasure. In true love the opposite occurs. There is nothing more cheap, fake and phony than Neo-Orthodox occultic, supposedly in Christ, love. Thus, in the so-called “theology of love”, the sexual partner replaces all others. In Neo-Gerondism, the “Geronda” replaces all others. Are all these things not the basis of sick religiosity? Christianity is neither man replaces God, nor God replaces humans. Both these things are from the devil, and are essentially the same thing. Our Lord does not tell us to love Him and not others, He does not tell us to love others less than you love Him. He simply says not to love Him less than we love others, and to have His own will as a guidepost even if this seems unpleasant to some! He says, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37). He does not say, he who does not love them less. “Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:8). These are all things that everyone needs to understand all.
However, we should be remember that everyone must respect the rassa. We must not forget that we should honor the priesthood in the person of every cleric as required by the order of our Church, whatever he may be. This applies to every clergyman until he is deposed by the competent ecclesiastical authority. If someone is not as he should, then we are not obligated to agree or cooperate with him. Essentially, we must oppose whatever evil he does, in the manner which dictates our position in every case.
Let’s not forget the example of the apostle Paul, who showed the due respect to the Jewish high priest Ananias, who persecuted him because of his faith in Jesus Christ, without, of course, ceasing to oppose his requirements:
“And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people” Acts of the Apostles 23: 1-5).
Other references are in subsections II Peter 2:10; Jude 8-9 and elsewhere. We strongly recommend their thorough examination.
While it may sound strange, anyone found in guruistic circles knows that clergy accusation is a favorite “sport” of these people. At every opportunity, they insult, gossip about and laugh at various clergymen of the Church—as long as it is not about the “Elder”, of course, or someone who belongs to that network—or at best, speak disparagingly about them, and the latter commit this either with words or grimaces, winks, smiles, ironies, etc. (e.g., .: “heh, those worldly (i.e. non-monastic) priests…”).2 In any case, they teach their followers usually with subtleties, how to despise the priests and bishops, that is, except him, they’re trained to criticize their fellow man, they also learn not to have a high idea of the priesthood, on the grounds that the worth of course depends on the “Elder “and not God. They constantly boast how much better the elder is compared to the non-“charismatic” priests. Moreover, the challenge for them is that people belong to their sect, and not in the Church, which is, as we say in the Creed, “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.” Basically, they want to break up the flock of Christ and sit upon His throne instead of Him, just as Satan wanted.3
On the other hand, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians of Corinth:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (I Corinthians 1: 10-17).
Still, though, there are genuine monks and people. They simply do not want to be worshiped as gods.
“Trust not in princes, nor in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation” (Psalm 146: 3).
“Thus saith the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and will lean his arm of flesh upon him, while his heart departs from the Lord. And he shall be as the wild tamarisk in the desert: he shall not see when good comes; but he shall dwell in barren [places], and in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.” (Jeremiah 17: 5-6).
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).
1) From the Gerontikon: Sayings of Abba Poemen #189.
2) Both within the monasteries and without, there is much gossip about the “ecumenist-minded clergy,” the “worldly clerics,” and “the enemies of Geronda or the monasteries.”
One could write a book about all the secrets, faults, and sins that the monasteries know about Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Iakovos, Metropolitan Sotirios, etc. Though many of the rumors start from without (Bishops, priests, lay people reveal things going on in confession or private conversations. This is turn can be transmitted to one or two monastics, or the whole monastery if the Geronda/Gerondissa give a homily. Then, this slowly disseminates to the lay people, many times without a blessing, via monks who idle talk.
The monasteries know which clergymen are Freemasons or AHEPA. Which ones have spoken out against the monasteries. Which ones aren’t traditional. Which ones have joint prayers with non-Orthodox, etc.
Moreover, unless the clergyman is a trusted spiritual child of Geronda Ephraim, the monasteries are always suspect of visiting clergymen, even if they are “monastic-friendly.” The general mindset is, if they’re not with the monasteries, they’re either against the monasteries or potentially against the monasteries.
Overall, the clergymen who aren’t with Geronda and pro-monastic are sort of endured with a semblance of respect for the priesthood, but that is only for the sake of appearances, especially if the clergymen is an Ecumenist.
3. More than one hieromonk of Geronda Ephraim’s has mentioned liturgizing with him is a mystical experience. At times, they have felt as if wings were extending from him, and wrapped around them. It has been said that the more holy one is, the more powerful their liturgies are and this is why people always tangibly experience heaven being brought down to earth during Geronda Ephraim’s liturgies. It has also been said that the angels rejoice when such a saint like Geronda Ephraim liturgizes because he is truly worthy of the priesthood. They anticipate co-liturgizing with him. It has also been said that the names read in proskimidi during Geronda Ephraim’s liturgies receive more benefit than those read in other liturgies. Many of Geronda Ephraim’s monastics (including abbots) have said Geronda Ephraim is of more benefit to the earth alive because his komboschoini can pull souls out of hell and his liturgies can do the same.