THE PATERNAL TEACHING
To my readers: Anthimos, by the Grace of God, Patriarch
of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine.
Three reasons moved me, my brethren in the faith and children of the Church of Christ, to print the present teaching for the benefit of the Christian brethren reading it.
A. The command of our Lord, who enjoins that each person who has received a gift from God make use of it for the benefit of his brethren, in order that he who hides his talent be not condemned as a deceitful slave.
B. Since I found myself, through divine dispensation and mercy, servant and protector of the most Holy Apostolic and Patriarchal throne of Jerusalem, a throne which is helped and shown consideration by all the Christians of the world in its bodily and essential needs, my conscience did not permit me to remain silent, but impelled me to benefit all my fellow Christian brethren spiritually, as they willingly help materially; just as the Christian faith from the beginning was proclaimed from Jerusalem to all the world as it is written 'from Sion stems the law, and the word of God from Jerusalem'.
C. Since I have arrived at such an age where I await the hour of death at every moment, I take the opportunity, in order to leave as a command and exhortation to the faithful and orthodox people, to declare with brevity to the hearts of all, the correct beliefs of our faith and the deceit and delusion of the devil, who, from generation to generation, continually struggles to dupe, if possible, even the chosen, to topple them from the true faith and to trip them up with snares and delusions; as well as in the present age, the fiend tries us with newly appearing types of constitution and government, allegedly more desirable and more beneficial, which transgress the true precepts of God and the Christian evangelical life, which is restricted and set about with commandments and laws, both civil and ecclesiastical, which guide the faithful to pass the short time of the present life, with patience in sorrow, and hope, not in the present, but in the future life.
For this reason, we urge all, with a fatherly prayer, to receive zealously these few admonitions, and to sweep away every obstacle, visible and invisible, that you meet with in the examination of the injunctions of God, so as not to be tripped up and fall into an abyss of evil and perdition, that you be not deprived of that eternal blessedness, which, in the patience of our souls, may we all achieve according to our Lord's promise: 'See therefore, brethren, do not be deceived for many shall come in the last days, neither knowing what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm, to the deception of simple souls'. And take care.
Of the trials of God towards the faithful and the chosenFrom among the creatures of God who possess reason and freedom of the will only the devil and man have apostasized against God, and for this they have been condemned according to the incomprehensiblea nd inscrutable justice of God. And the devilh as been condemned for eternity to the underworld, because he sinned with pride and arrogance against the divined ignity of God and wished to set his own throne above the heavens and, imagining himself on high, was condemned to the underworld.
Man, however, was not condemned for eternity, because he was deceived by that very devil into imagining himself the equal of God, but was only ejected from the blessed life of paradise for a time, assigned in the present life to eat his bread with sweat, to meet with thorns and thistles, sorrows, misfortunes, tyrannies, sufferings, tears, sickness, persecutions, calumnies, and all such bitter and painful things. All these, however, are transitory.
Since God in his unfathomablec ompassion,decided that man should die and by being dissolved into the elements from which he was composed, according to the decision of God, to be able in time again to reach paradise, and when he had been tested in the present life and tried with temptations, as gold is tested in the crucible, to be considered worthy again of that blessed life, and to take pleasure eternally in the splendour of heavenly rewards with joy and eternal delight.
For this reason, those men and women who have had, from the time of Adam until the present, this just decision of God rooted in their souls and have known the reason for their exile from paradise, have praised God. And for all that they were exiled, they who had experienced bitterness and sufferings, they have given thanks and have run through fire and water, patiently enduring the sorrows of the present life and hoping to be restored to the future and blessed life of paradise.
Since, however, this falling Lucifer, the devil, was envious of such great love of mankind on the part of God and, being by nature after his fall full of wickedness, he became a hater of men and he never again ceased inciting man, now towards one delusion, now towards another unseemliness.
Because of this, at diverse times God has sent inspired and righteous prophets, to guide mankind and to teach them and to counsel them to endure with thanksgiving the sorrows of the present life, so as to be worthy of the inexpressible joys of that future life. This compassionate creator, seeing mankind tyrannized over in this way by the devil, in order to hasten and make more easy their salvation, deigned to send his only begotten Son, who, bending back the heavens, came down to earth and gave mankind a new form, causing it to be born again through water and the spirit, and giving himself as the type and model for salvation to all, he ascended from whence he never at all departed, having accomplished the mystery beyond reason of his incarnation.
Who, Christian brethren, could not admire such condescension on our behalf by God? Who cannot take as an example in the present life this same God, seeing him hunger and thirst, in tribulation, in distress, in persecution? This truly is in the present existence the life of the true Christian, if he wishes to be worthy of the heavenly kingdom.
But the devil, who ever stalks about as a roaring lion, who from the beginning led astray our first parents, and never ceases to sow tares, has made it his aim again to sever the faithful from divine love, and in every way to place difficulties and obstacles in the way of their salvation. And, indeed, in the beginning he raised up persecutors, to chastise with various punishments the Apostles, the Christians, and with persecutions, with bitter deaths, with seizures of their possessions and with exile. But the one who ensnares the wise in his trickery constituted all these things a means of great salvation; he actually strengthened the Christianst o suffert hese tribulationsa, nd to confessb eforet heirp ersecutors the avowal of their faith, bringing shame on them and the evil devil who prompted them. And truly nothing of human things, wealth, glory, honour, property or possessions, and almost life itself did they prefer to their faith in Christ.
Secondly, when the evil one came to realise that, as a result of his torments and chastisements, not only did he not gain his ends but he caused many thousands of the faithful to be martyrs, he undertook another course of villainy. He sowed the tares of heresies in a treacherous and underhand way, in order to cause the faithful Christians to break with their faith while yet appearing faithful to Christ, becoming the devil's own special followers, they removing themselves from Christ.
And there are diverse heresies that have appeared from time to time, now against the only son, like that of the Arians, now against the Holy Spirit, like that of the Macedonians, now against the Incarnation, such as that of the Nestorians, Monophysites, Monothelites, Iconoclasts, and innumerable others. Because of these heresies diverse ecumenical and local synods took place, and, having censured these heresies, anathematized these turbulent beliefs, and made clear to the faithful the beliefs against God of the heretics, and strengthened the Christians in the spotless faith; they shamed the fiendish devil and his vessels, the heretics, and thus the holy fathers did not allow the worthy to come to grief, except those who of their own set purpose showed themselves worthy of perdition.
Thirdly, the devil raised from the West another newer heresy for the ruin of the pious, I meant he Latin heresy, different in name but similar to the foregoing heresies and leading to destruction. And with this he led astray all the West. This heresy gave birth afterwards to offshoots and different sects: Lutherans, Calvinists, Luthero-Calvinists, Εvangelicals and others without number; this heresy engendered its own destruction, so that it might become clear that it was rotten and unstable, as born of an unsound mind.
However, beloved Christians, here again we should see and admire the boundless love of God towards us. See how clearly our Lord, boundless in mercy and all-wise, has undertaken to guard once more the unsullied Holy and Orthodox faith of us, the pious, and to save all mankind. He raised out of nothing this powerful empire of the Ottomans, in the place of our Roman [Byzantine] Empire which had begun, in a certain way, to cause to deviate from the beliefs of the Orthodox faith, and He raised up the empireof the Ottomans higher than any other kingdom so as to show without doubt that it came about by divine will, and not by the power of man, and to assure all the faithful that in this way He deigned to bring about a great mystery, namely salvation to his chosen people.
The all-mighty Lord, then, has placed over us this high kingdom, 'for there is no power but of God', so as to be to the people of the West a bridle, to us the people of the East a means of salvation. For this reason he puts into the heart of the Sultan of these Ottomans an inclination to keep free the religious beliefs of our Orthodoxf aith and, as a work of supererogationt, o protect them, even to the point of occasionally chastising Christians who deviate from their faith, that they have always before their eyes the fear of God.
The Church of Christ has all the freedom that it has under Orthodox sovereigns of the same faith in the building of churches, as from generation to generation many splendid churches in different provinces and places have been built with the permission of the mighty Empire. And this imperial approval existed from the beginning, and continues up to the present. And let no one think that, because the building of many churches is sometimes hindered, freedom of Christian worship is thereby curtailed. For shame! This is the superstition of some, to consider the building of churches a great benefit.
The faith of Christ has achieved all its growth and perfection not with dignified and lavish temples, but with churches wretched and few in number. For God is not found 'in temples made with hands; neither is he sewed by men's hands'. Elsewhere 'You are the Church of God', says the Apostle. And certainly it is according to divine commandt hat the building of churches magnificent beyond necessity is forbidden, 'for our citizenship is in heaven' and 'we have not here
an abiding city, we seek after the city which is to come' according to the Holy Apostle Paul.
The arch-apostate, the devil, understandingth en these trials of God, that He changes these trials for the faithful people from generation to generation, as a means of their salvation and to enable them to enjoy eternal and inexpressible blessedness, seeks to lead astray and once more to lead to destruction the abandoned chosen faithful. For this he has devised in the present century another artifice and pre-eminent deception,n amelyt he much vaunted system of liberty, which perhaps on the surface appears to be good, so as to deceive if possible the chosen people. It is, however, a trap of the devil and a destructive poison, to drive the people headlong into corruption and confusion.
And since the evil one is wounded in the heart, seeing the soul-destroying treacheries which he had contrived from time to time trampled underfoot, and seeing that this our Orthodox faith flourishes in this powerful empire, in his envy and shame he has summoned, in desperation, all the spirits of evil to help devise this new and ingenious trap, so that in the end even good Christians may finally fall into it and lose their heavenly kingdom and be eternally tortured with him.
Brothers, do not be led astray from the path of salvation; but as you have alwaysw ith braverya nd steadfastnesst rampledu nderfoott he wiles of the devil, so now also close your ears and give no hearing to these newly-appearing hopes of liberty 'for now is salvation nearer to us'. And be very certain that their boastings and teachings, as we have been able to understand them, and from what we know in practice of the nations which have received them, that they are not only the direct contradiction of the written word of the Scriptures and the Holy Apostles, which enjoins us to subject ourselves to the superior powers, not only to those that are just but also to those that are perverse, that we may have tribulation in this world, and keep our minds pure for the Lord; they are, I say, not only the contradiction of Holy Writ, but they do not bring about any transitory good in the present life, as they guilefully promise, in order to lead you astray and to strip you of all riches in heaven and earth.
Where is the glorious and most attractive sight of the envy of all, beautiful Italy? Where now the inexhaustible treasure of the very ancient and serene republic of the Venetians? Everywhere this illusory system of the diabolical one has led to poverty, murder, damage, rapine, complete ungodliness, spiritual destruction and vain repentance.
The teachings of these new libertines, Christian brethren, are deceitful. And beware: guard steadfastly your ancestral faith and, as followers of Jesus Christ, resolutely give your obedience to the civil government, which grants you that which alone is necessary to the present life, and what is more valuable than anything, does not present any obstacle or damage to your spiritual salvation. 'For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose or forfeit his own self?'
These newly-appeared teachings, being hostile to the Holy Scriptures and to the Apostolic teaching, even if they were to enable you to obtain all the wealth of the world they should still be hated as a device of the fiendish devil, ever alert for the spiritual destruction of Christians. How much more so when these promises are false and fraudulent, and the consequences are not wealth and blessings but poverty, misfortune and disorder, and what is aimed at by this freedom is a hated oligarchy and tyranny, as experience has shown.
But let us analyse more scientifically the very name of this 'liberty', to see if it can be reconciled with any civil government in which abides order, morality, and safety for its citizens. Let us pass over, for the sake of brevity, monarchical and aristocraticg overnment, as in these (as all admit) such liberty is not granted, and let us examine if, in truth, liberty is granted in a well-administered democratic form of government. When we say 'government'w e must mean a group of men, by nature of different constitutions, who inhabit one and the same state, that is the strong and the weak, the healthy and the sick, the wise and the ignorant. Can freedom, then, exist among them?
True freedom is, A, that disposition of the rational soul which, by the grace of God, leads man to the good without, however, compelling him. Such liberty is called 'freedom of the will'. B, it is freedom for man to be able, unhindered, to put into practice the appetites of his desires, which is insubordination. C, it is called freedom for someone to live according to divine and human laws, that is to live free of every reproach of conscience and free of civil discipline.
In such a democracy, when we look on men of different dispositions, possessed of free will and insubordinate, how can such a government be formed? The powerful will dominate the weak, the healthy the sick, and the wise will deceive the ignorant. What order can then remain in such a government, and what morality, when the passions rule? What safety is there for the citizens, when rapine prevails?
The only praiseworthy liberty is the third noted above. This has no place in the system of the new freedom lovers. For how can they live without the reproach of conscience, those who themselves, having been led astray and having been reduced to a wretched condition, are already trying to deceive and to ruin others?
How can they live without any civil discipline, those who despise unsullied marriage, and harm the whole state? How can they live without the reproach of conscience, those of them who, won over by gain, can lightly cheat the civil law; when the fear of God and the threat of eternal punishment is not a bridle against wrong-doing?
You should understand, brethren, that true freedom cannot exist in a good government without faith in God. And for this reason, the Holy Apostles, the immovable pillars of the godliness of our faith, who were enlightened by God, thus preached to the world, thus they and their successors behaved. These same things the Church of Christ received from them and guarded steadfastly.
And when we see with such clarity that this new system of liberty is none other than a confusion and overturning of good government, a path leading to destruction or, simply speaking, a new ambush of the evil devil to lead astray the abandoned Orthodox Christians, are we not going to be judged worthy of all condemnation if we give the slightest hearing to these sly and deceptive teachings? Are we not going to be justly punished afterwards if, knowing most clearly the truth, we follow the guides of the false one againstt he commandments of God?
No, Christians! Let us have steadfastness and prudence, let us not lose the unfading crowns of eternal blessedness for a false and non-existent liberty in this presentl ife. Let us not deprive ourselves of the inexpressible rewards. Let us not listen at all, in order to bring shame without consolation to the devil, and to enjoy those good things which God has prepared from time immemorial for those who love him.
Strengthen yourselves then, brethren, in the Lord and in the greatness of his strength, take on the panoply of God so that you can resist the machinations of the devil.
Above all take on the emblem of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, that is the command of God, that you rout every onslaught of the evil one, to be judged worthy of the heavenly kingdom, which may we all succeed in gaining through the love and charity of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory, the honour, and the adoration for ever. Amen.
Let everyone remain in that state to which he has been called,
Let him not gainsay the kingdom to which he is subject.
It is acknowledged by those who discern
Things with the logic of the mind and judge,
How inevitable, and how necessary is
Precise reflection in all the things that have to be done.
Right reason demands that everyone should recognize
One power and one head which has authority over him.
In this way the universe is formed, continues and is governed
From its first creation, and in this way it is preserved.
All creation acknowledges one leader and creator,
In heaven, and on earth, and the whole of nature
Obediently offers itself and bows its head,
To one divine kingdom, set above all.
From which, in imitation of the first monarchy,
Which governs all things with divine solicitude,
From its first beginning the world has been subjected
To one first leader, and thus it has been conserved.
Each nation received its own authority,
And yielded to it with ultimate obedience;
To avoid the many wretched consequences
Of anarchy, or government by the many.
And this the law of nature teaches,
With very many examples it makes it abundantly clear.
Sailors subject themselves to a captain,
And all the dwellers in a house to one master of the house,
And if obedience is lacking, both in house and ship,
Then in the end destruction is certainly expected.
And even the illogical animals are led by nature itself,
Without being led they do not move.
With a leader bees govern their lives,
And flocks follow the leading ram,
Such an order is apparent in the things that move,
The relation between the leader and the led.
How much then thinking creatures are obliged
To live with obedience and discipline to the sovereign.
He is, after God, their ruler,
The controller of their possessions, and guardian of their lives.
Both divine and human laws sternly command,
Summon great and small to faith and obedience.
Above all, say the Scriptures, we should praise
Our sovereigns always and for ever,
And again that we should obey the sovereign powers,
As having authority by divine command.
And whoever resists such authority,
Clearly opposes the divine command.
And once again, because the heart of the sovereign is in the hand of God,
And even with one nod of the head the sovereign acts, and not otherwise.
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, it proclaims
And to God that which is God's, it enjoins without fail,
Honour to Him that deserves honour, that which is due to Him that merits it,
And let every member render fear to him.
Hear then, beloved, as an article of our faith,
We should fulfil our proper obligation.
And all fellow-countrymens,i nce from our beginning,
We never lacked submission,
Let us intensify our faith from the heart.
With absolute obedience and with eagerness,
For we are indebted for all the mercies,
Which we enjoy, both old and young,
Not only to offer everything we possess
But also to despise every anarchy.
This is the will of God, this is salvation,
Certainly, this is the true salvation.
And whoever will think otherwise is despairing,
And clearly abandoned by God.
Settlers,a ll temporarilys ojourningi n this life,
For this reason, not even do we have a lasting dwelling,
But we warmly seek the future city.
If we have patience so as to become worthy of it
Let us preserve these things, let us fear God.
And let us submit ourselves faithfully to our sovereign,
Not acting according to foreign examples at all,
Knowing full well that all these are but a deception,
All those doing this, steadfastly standing firm
We shall receive both, we shall live certainly
This temporary life and the life eternal,
As it is meet for those who hope for the heavenly kingdom.
«The 'Dhidhaskalia Patriki' (1798): An Orthodox Reaction to French Revolutionary Propaganda»,
Middle Eastern Studies, Vol./Τόμ. 5, No./Αρ. 2 (May/Μάιος, 1969), Taylor & Francis, Ltd,
Αδαμάντιος Κοραής / Adamantios Korais,
Αδελφική διδασκαλία προς τους ευρισκόμενους κατά πάσαν την οθωμανικήν επικράτειαν γραικούς: εις αντίρρησιν κατά της ψευδονύμως εν ονόματι του Μακαριωτάτου Πατριάρχου Ιεροσολύμων εκδοθείσης εν Κωνσταντινουπόλει Πατρικής διδασκαλίας (1798) #
[Adhelfiki Dhidhaskalia, or Brotherly Teaching addressed to the Greeks throughout the Ottoman dominions. In answer to the Paternal Teaching published pseudonymously in Constantinople in the name of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem]