NOT UNTO US, O LORD, NOT UNTO US, BUT UNTO THY NAME GIVE GLORY ONOMATODOXY AND ONOMATOCLASM

I n t r o d u c t i o n .................................................................................................................................................. 1 The Divine Word and Name. A brief sketch ....................................................................................................... 8 The Epistle of the Russian Synod of 1913 and the doctrine about the Word of God ........................................ 11 Onomatoclasm and the Barlaam heresy ............................................................................................................ 15 The saving force and effectiveness of the Name of God ................................................................................... 19 The Orthodox doctrine about praying ............................................................................................................... 22 The faith in the Name of Jesus Christ................................................................................................................ 23 Onomatoclasm and iconoclasm ......................................................................................................................... 26 Accomplishment of the Church Sacraments by the Name of God .................................................................... 28 The latest onomatoclasts.................................................................................................................................... 31

Introduction The disputes about the Name of God flamed up in the beginning of the 20th century, have touched on not only one particular question, but also those basic concepts, through which only we can properly perceive the Divine Revelation. Unfortunately, despite of all importance of these questions, there was no serious council consideration upon them until now. In Russia, the Synod Epistle of 19131 containing a number of heretic statements remains the last official definition about the Name of God. The accusations against Athos worshippers of the Name of God (imyaslavtsy or onomatodoxes)2 and against schemamonk Hilarion, an author of the book “On the mountains of the Caucasus”, were brought and examined in their absence. The accused persons were neither listened to nor tested about their faith; they had no opportunity to justify themselves. Since any discussion on this problem was prohibited at that time for a church press (except several publications of onomatodoxes’ opponents), many people until now believe that the point of question was about deification of sounds or characters of the Name of God, or about mixing up of God's properties and actions with His essence. Though the Court of Synod Office, having place in 1914, under presidency of Metropolitan Makary of Moscow, had cancelled interdictions against Name-worshippers, finding no heresy in their confession of faith3, but the Court had no authority to decide the questions of Faith, and could not cancel the Synod Epistle. For this reason, the interdictions were imposed again in 1918 with an explanation that the previous cancellation of them was but personal indulgence, and that the sanction of serving for the clergy-onomatodoxes had a reason only in the conditions of the military time (?). On the other side, the AllRussia Council of 1917-1918 determined that the question about reverence of the Name of God did not belong to the Synod competence, but only to the competence of a Council; however, no council consideration was made and only two preliminary sessions of the commission having to prepare materials for this consideration were held. A cause for all these disputes was the book “On the mountains of the Caucasus”, devoted to the Jesus Prayer and containing nothing unusual in comparison with the Holy Fathers' doctrine, but written from experience of this practice and having a purpose to inspire monks and all believers of nowadays to it. The
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The Epistle was made by Archbishop Sergey (Stragorodsky) on a basis of the reports of Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky), Archbishop Nikon (Rozhdestvensky) and Professor S.V.Troitsky, and published in “Tserkovnye Vedomosty” (“The Church bulletin”), 18th of May 1913. They were named as “imyaslavtsy”, and by their enemies – as “imyabozhniky”; imyaslavtsy named their opponents as “imyabortsy”. Prof. Losev invented the term “Onomatodoxia”. Therefore, maybe it would be correct in English to use terms “onomatodox” (“imyaslavets”, “imyaslavchesky”), “onomatodoxes” (“imyaslavtsy”) and also “onomatoclasm”, “onomatoclast”. Bishop Modest, to whom the direct talks with imyaslavtsy were committed, wrote the follows: “Thanksgiving to the Lord God, all the monks imyaslavtsy proved to be the true children of the Church” (The letter by bishop Modest to A.L.Garyazin, 14th of May 1914 г. // “Kolokol”, 1914, 24th of May).

book was published three times (the third time – by Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra), and was highly appreciated by the monks, skilled in praying practice. For example, elder Barsonophy of the Optina Skete wrote the follows: “It is necessary to read this book several times to apprehend completely all depth of its contents. It should deliver a great pleasure to the people having inclination to contemplative life; may God give, that the reading of it should bring you not only high spiritual pleasure, but also a help in saving your soul”4. It would not be strange, if some expressions used by the author of this book seemed not quite clear for somebody and required the further explanations. It could not in itself lead to the interdictions, which, by the way, elder Hilarion learned only indirectly, through the third persons. We know that even Holy Fathers' writings directed against some heresies were sometimes interpreted for the benefit of other heresies; for example, monophysites used some works of St. Cyril of Alexandria, written against Nestorius. It is not at all the fault of St. Cyril writings, which had a definite purpose and had perfectly achieved it. And in this case also, it was necessary to look at the purpose of the book and at the essence of the problem, and continue an explanation of the question if any misuses or misinterpretations appeared. The Synod Epistle said that Fr. Hilarion had put forward a certain new dogma about the Name of God; thus, it is necessary to understand, in what sense it might be true. The word “dogma” sometimes means a particular part of the Orthodox doctrine. In this sense, new dogmas cannot appear, and we shall see that elder Hilarion did not invent any new doctrine in his book. However, “dogma” means also a formula or definition, and in this sense new dogmas appeared in the history of the Church and they certainly ought to appear because of new heresies. Therefore, elder Hilarion in his book offered such a formula having quite a definite purpose; however, this formula was not absolutely new, as it had already appeared in the writings of St. Father John of Kronstadt. The arisen disputes showed very clearly that the question about reverence of the Name of God was put forward quite in time, and thus both explanation and definition of this question was really required. In fact, Fr. Hilarion did not at all intend to put forward any doctrine question by his book: the dogmatic disputes begun only after insulting declarations – oral and printed – against reverence of the Name of God. Besides all, the Name-worshippers of Athos did not mean to ratify a new dogma by themselves, i.e. to find some obligatory definition for the whole Church, but on the contrary, they constantly sought a council consideration, because only in this way any true definition may become a dogma. Therefore, it is necessary to consider with all attention, against what sort of errors a formula “the Name of God is God Himself” was directed, and what did St. Father John of Kronstadt, elder Hilarion, hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) and their adherents mean by these words. Let us notice that when this expression, strengthened and repeated more than once, had appeared in the writings of St. Father John of Kronstadt (some years before the Athos disputes), this fact passed unnoticed. It means that if the academically educated part of the Russian clergy, who later condemned “the heresy of imyabozhnichestvo”, had ever read the Father John's writings, they did not attach to them any essential dogmatic significance. Archbishop Nikon (Rozhdestvensky) himself, – the future organizer of devastation of the Russian monasteries on Athos (accompanied by the beating, mockeries and even by murders of monksonomatodoxes, and also by destroying of icons), – before all these disputes wrote: “The name of God is always Holy. It accomplishes our saving Sacraments; it seals up the truth of our oaths and promises. By it we defeat our visible and invisible enemies. The name of God is the same as the incomprehensible essence of God, opening itself to the people”5. – These words expressed the same doctrine, against which the author struggled afterwards, even by the help of armies. What was a reason of such a change? We can find the answer in the Synod Epistle of 1913, which without any substantiation announced the most strong and great sayings of the Scripture about the Name of God and glory of God to be simply “descriptive expressions”, i.e. the words meaning nothing in essence. Therefore, Archbishop Nikon also followed in his writings those standard expressions about the Name of God that became for him and for many others as decorous but empty words, which we can repeat without
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The conversations of schema-archimandrite of the Optina Skete, elder Barsonophy with his spiritual children. SPb, 1991, p. 58. “Troitsky listky”, 1899, v. 5, p. 137. Here and further is italicised by the compiler. 2

any serious consequences, as they do not contain the Absolute Truth, i.e. God Himself. Thus, it was continuing until there appeared some writings showing clearly that these words were not at all empty and that it is necessary to accept them quite seriously. Afterwards, Archbishop Nikon explained the words of St. Father John of Kronstadt in psychological sense, as a reflection of some subjective experience of praying, because St. Father John “became famous not owing to his science-theological works, but owing to his asceticism and beneficial gifts”6. Nevertheless, it is impossible in any way to agree with such an approach. We know that in the writings of the Saints, those words are worthy of the most serious attention, which are the fruit of their spiritual experience of praying, in contrast to the statements being a simple transmission of things acquired from other people. Let us also remember that St. Barsonophy the Great explains the possibility of errors in the Saints’ writings by the fact that not the whole contents of these writings was gathered from real experience of God communion, but some part of it was borrowed from other people through external training. Let us notice also that the decisions of the Holy Councils and their definitions are strong not because of the large number of bishops, which accepted them, but since they were a voice of the Spirit of God, Who spoke in His Saints. Therefore, a judgment of only one St. Cyril of Alexandria, or of St. Maximus the Confessor, or of St. Gregory Palamas, or of St. Mark of Ephesus, and the expressions found by them were sufficient for condemnation of heresies. Thus, the Church has accepted these expressions as dogmas, and the councils, which had rejected them, proved to be false councils. If St. John of Kronstadt has written down something from his experience and then blessed this for publishing, it is obvious that we should consider his thoughts with all seriousness and try to understand, what the Spirit of God has revealed through His servant for our benefit, of the last Christians, and in protection from errors. You know, the Holy Spirit not only reveals something true through His servants, but also provides the medicine most necessary nowadays; otherwise, it would be enough only ancient writings for our guidance. If we see that some years after St. Father John, another ascetic and prayer has realized that it was completely necessary to offer for monks and all believers the same theological definitions (not only because he had read them in the book of St. John of Kronstadt, but also because they were a result of his own experience too), this fact especially forces us to look at these expressions seriously. Obviously, through this sort of writings we should verify our concepts used commonly according to the habit only, without analysing, whence we have borrowed them. Unfortunately, in fact the faith and views of the Orthodox person are usually only partially determined by the Divine Revelation. To a great extent, he gathers his concepts from the spirit of time penetrating imperceptibly into each soul through thousand of ways. Here, we should make some digression from the main subject. It is known that besides the supernatural Revelation kept in the Scripture and in the Church Tradition, the natural Revelation, which is traced in the whole creation and especially in the human soul, is an important support for understanding of Divine truths. The Holy Scripture repeatedly in parables and various expressions refers us to the natural life experience, which is accessible to all people in this God-created world. The natural, sensible concepts constitute a God-established basis for perception of truths above the nature. Through darkness of the fall until the time of Christ's coming in the world, the Divine Providence had been keeping in humankind these natural concepts, though partly in deformed and spoiled form. The Christian Faith has opened true sense of these mysterious parables filling the life of the creation. However, when the former Christian nations had deviated from Christ, the Lord allowed in their consciousness an unprecedented destruction not only of God-revealed truths, but also of those natural concepts, which earlier had been helping them in perception of the Gospel. The way of life and all the reality surrounding the modern man is infinitely far from all that surrounded the ancient people, who heard the preaching of the
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Archbishop Nikon (Rozhdestvensky) “The double-edged sword”, SPb, 1995. 3

Gospel. Nevertheless, more important thing is destruction not only of external frame of life, but also of internal system of concepts, in which the human mind lives and works. Our time is significant not because the world having already lost the Orthodox Faith long time ago, in its apostasy goes now further and further, but because the false philosophy of this world penetrates deeply into consciousness of the Orthodox people. Ever-memorable Father Seraphim (Rose) in his work about the world Creating, mentions that numerous false doctrines (for example, evolutionism), having appeared once outside of the Church, are spreading gradually, obtaining external authority, and then, after having got a strength, penetrate into the Church fencing. As covering for them deceiving many of believers, their pseudoscientific character serves, as well as some false philosophical presuppositions, which seem natural nowadays and deform unnoticeably the perception of the very basis of the Christian doctrine. Under the influence of this everywhere-penetrating philosophy, modern man, very often without realizing it, believes that only subjects or phenomena, visible or invisible, are quite real; but words or names, even God-revealed, he considers as conditional designations, which correlate with the named subjects by rather indirect and casual way. Such a nominalistic view follows directly from the materialism, i.e. from the idea of the primacy and the absolute of substance. As another reason, we can see both the human language damage with lie and also the lost of its sense that have nowadays spread unusually deeply, so as in fact the language is now losing the remaining connections with the reality as a result of rejection and violation of the Divine Word. Proceeding from such, sometimes not realized, presuppositions, modern man often considers Godrevealed words of the Scripture and of the Church Tradition as insignificant, conditional, relative ones, and regards dogmatic disputes as senseless debates about words, which in any case cannot and should not reflect the Divine reality in adequate way. The result of similar complex of views is adogmatism – the 20th century’s principle illness, which has caused all other illnesses; on such a ground, modernism and ecumenism were born and grown up inside of the Orthodox community. In ascetic and praying sphere, on the same ground, subjectivism and psychologism are developing, indissolubly connected with ecumenical way of thinking of nowadays. A praying person, without giving due attention and reverence to the God-revealed words of prayers, and first of all – to the Name of God, through which only it is possible to enter into a real communion with God, remains isolated in sphere of intellectual or emotional representations and impressions. Let us notice that it is not at all easy to detect and denounce this state, which is really the death for the soul. The heresies of the ancient period consisted in rejecting some particular dogmas, but worked in the borders of unchanged natural system of ideas, so it was rather easy to condemn them. But everyone who came in touch with far-expanded adogmatic damage, so usual for the “official orthodoxy”, can notice that any discussions there are being carried out in absolutely other language, in which the most basic Christian concepts had lost their sense long time ago; so, very often any polemics appears to be completely impossible. The same danger imperceptibly penetrates into the midst of the true Orthodox people, whence the “official orthodoxy” had proceeded from, which lately has obtained so doubtless quantitative overweight in the world. The ordeals, similarly to the touchstones that fell to Christians’ lot in the beginning of the 20th century, have shown how deeply the illness had spread under covering of respectable appearance. However, before the external distresses touched the believers’ society, the voice had sounded of St. Father John and of the other prayers. This voice was to force each heart to beat faster: some– due to joyful recognition of those things, which were subconsciously guessed, but were not realized through their own poor experience, others – because of indignation, for the sounded words have touched the ill nerve of seemingly protected Church life. St. Father John of Kronstadt writes the follows: “The Name of God is God Himself. Therefore, it was said: Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain. Or again: The Name of the God of Jacob defend thee (Ps. 19, 2). Or: Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy Name (Ps. 141, 8). As the Lord is the simplest Essence, the simplest Spirit, He is <present> completely whole in a single word, in a single
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idea, and at the same time – everywhere, in all the creation. Therefore, call only the Name of the Lord, and you will call the Lord, the Saviour of believers, and you will be saved. – Whosoever shall call the Name of the Lord, shall be saved (Acts 2, 21). – Call My Name in the day of thy trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me (Ps. 49, 16)”7. “The Lord in spite of all His infinity is such a simple Essence that He is able to be in a single name of Him – “the Trinity”, or in the name “the Lord”, or in the name “Jesus Christ””8. “When you either in yourself or in your heart speak or utter the Name of God, or of the Lord, or of the Holy Trinity, or of the Lord of Sabaoth, or of the Lord Jesus Christ, in this Name you have all the Lord's essence; in it there is His infinite Goodness, boundless Wisdom, unapproachable Light, Almightiness, invariability. With fear of God, faith and love do touch by thoughts and heart this all-creating, allpossessing, all-ruling Name. That is why the God's commandment strictly forbids using of the Name of God in vain, i.e. because His Name is He Himself, One God in three Persons, the simple Essence, in one word represented and contained, and at the same time not contained, i.e. not limited by it and by anything existing. Great names [of God] … either called with sincere heartfelt belief and reverence or represented in soul, are God Himself, and they bring from above into a soul God in three Persons. …This infinitely simple Essence is able to be, in some way, grasped by one our thought, by one word”9. However, since the expression “the Name of God” may have various meanings, it was necessary to specify, what it means in this particular case. Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) explains this as following: “In the highest meaning, the Name of God is the Word of God10, the beyond-names Name of the Deity, which possesses all the Divine properties. Secondly, in the Names of God, by which we can name Him, we esteem their Divine virtue, for they are true beams of the true beyond-names Name, and as they are the verbal action of the Deity, they possess all the Divine properties. However, we do not attribute these Divine properties to those characters, which conditionally express the Divine Truth, but only to the word of Truth. Therefore, when we speak about the Name of God, meaning essence of the Name, we say that the Name of God is God Himself. When we mean the letters and syllables, by which the Name of God is expressed, we say that God is present in His Name”11. Let us notice that in the Church Tradition, such a using of words is usual, where “name” or “word” denotes neither sounds nor characters serving only for external expression or embodying of it, but the very truth kept in it. Therefore, we shall not find in the Scripture expressions telling, for example, that God is glorified by means of His Name, or with the help of it, or through it, or in it, as He is glorified in His Saints. Nevertheless, the Scripture everywhere identifies praise or veneration of the Name of God with praise of God Himself. So, for example, the Scripture says the follows: And will be praised about Thee those who love Thy Name (Ps. 5, 12), but nowhere has it said “those who love Thee in Thy Name” or “those who love Thy Name for the sake of Thee”. Blessed art Thou, O, God of our fathers, supremely praised and supremely exalted forever. And blessed is the holy Name of Thy glory, supremely praised and supremely exalted forever (Dan. 3, 26, 52-53). Here absolutely identical expressions are applied both to God and to His Name, and this certainly does not mean that something created and external is equated to God, but it means that God, unapproachable and incomprehensible in essence, is supremely praised and supremely exalted, exactly because supremely praised and supremely exalted His Name is. Without Divine names, it is impossible either to recognize God or obtain the true belief in Him, or glorify Him, or pray to Him, or accomplish any of Church Sacraments. The most part of the Creed (and the entire Creed in the edition of the First Ecumenical Council) is nothing else but the detailed Name of Three-

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“My life in Christ”, v. 1, p. 237. Ibid. p. 422. 9 The thoughts of the Christian, SPb. 1903, p. 46–47 10 “The words of St. Cyril: “He said: for Thy Name’s sake, i.e. for the sake of the Son. For the force of the Father is the Son”” (The interpretations on Psalms by Euthymius Zigaben, Ps. 67, 3, Kiev, 1882, v. I, p. 326, footnote 1). 11 Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich). “The Apologia of the faith in the Name of God and in the Name “Jesus””, Moscow, 1913, part II. 5

Persons God, in Whom we believe. But also all the Scripture and the Tradition are the explanation of the Divine Name's sense and the evidence about it. Everyone, who says that he esteems God, and also everyone, who offers praise to Him, thus gives reverence and praise to His Name, willingly or unwillingly. On the contrary, everyone who blames the Name of God unavoidably blames God Himself; and everyone who rejects the faith in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, rejects the Christian Faith, for the Apostle tells about this Faith: He gave them the power to be God's children, them who believe on His Name (John 1, 12). These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the Name of the Son of God (1 John 5, 11). The Holy Fathers’ interpretations of these expressions of the Holy Scripture and similar to them explain that we actually believe in the Name of God, as the essence of God is completely incomprehensible for us, and this Name is worthy of belief, as amazing and working a number of miracles. The true belief of the heart that is unto righteousness is actually the belief in God-revealed names of God; and these names of God we confess with the mouth unto salvation. The knowledge, which we obtain from God-revealed names of God, is limited owing to our limitedness, and because very often, hearing the word of God, we neither hear nor understand, for a true knowledge of God is knowledge through life, and not through reason only. However, the truths expressed in the names of God, as beams of the incomprehensible and ineffable Sun, are not at all conditional, relative or limited. Through the calling of the God-revealed names of God, we really touch God, Who has revealed Himself to the people, and it is independent even from whether we want this or not. As in Church Sacraments, the grace, i.e. God Himself, works quite objectively, to justification or condemnation of those who receive them; so the calling of the Name of God cannot be inactive, but either consecrates and heals our ailing nature, or scorches – visibly or invisibly – those who disrespectfully use it. More in detail, we shall consider the doctrine about the Name of God a little further, at first following the Scripture and the Church Tradition, and then comparing this doctrine with statements declared in the Synod Epistle of 1913 and in other writings of the same direction. Now we would like to note only two things. Firstly, there is a certain prejudice against onomatodoxy, caused by the fact that it was supported by some philosophers known by their deviations from the Orthodox Faith: Pavel Florensky, Sergey Bulgakov etc. But it is easy to notice that their specific views, being gradually formed into the Gnostic doctrine known under the name of “Sophiology”, are not at all identical with the views of hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) and other onomatodoxes of Athos; at the same time it is characteristic that the same philosophers did not undergo the interdictions either in 1913 or in 1918. On the other hand, it is quite natural that the rationalistic doctrine declared in the Synod Epistle of 1913, which reduces all religious life to the subjective and psychological component, proved to be the antagonistic not only to the true spiritual experience, but also even to the mysticism, far deviated from the true way. Besides this, there were cases in the Church history, when heretics defended the true Orthodox doctrine, and sometimes rather successfully: the activity of Origen was the brightest example of this kind. In fact, it is no wonder that the Synod Epistle met objections from the most educated philosophers of that time. It could not be hidden from their observation that this Epistle included well-known philosophical concepts such as Kantianism or positivism, which had formerly influenced the modern consciousness so strongly, but to that time, had already withdrawn to the background in scientific world, having lost their former attractiveness. Therefore, it is quite natural, for example, that the analysis of the Synod Epistle made by Vladimir Earn contains a number of correct and useful observations, which without any doubt are worthy of attention. Another thing we need to notice is that among the opponents of onomatodoxy there were also some persons worthy of respect, especially those who had obtained the fragments of information on this dispute in desultory way and via the third hands. Through a closer dialogue with confessors of the Name of God such a
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prejudice often disappeared, as it was for example with the elder archimandrite Arseny, who arrived on Athos in March, 1913 with the letter of the Chief Procurator of the Synod for persuading of onomatodoxes. Having found no heresy in their doctrine, he not only supported them, but also anathematised their opponents – onomatoclasts – and rejected the Synod Epistle, and thus he was deprived by onomatoclasts of the Holy Communion before his death, and of the Christian burial. There were often the cases, when the very experience of noetic praying had led monks considering onomatodoxy as a heretic doctrine, to confession of absolutely the same dogmatic statements, which were characteristic for onomatodoxy. One of those monks was elder Theodosy of Karula, who described in his diary the experience of noetic praying12. The typical case we can see also in memoirs of Archbishop Benyamin (Fedchenko) about Optina Skete: he saw in Optina, how two monks were arguing about the Name of God, and as the opponent of onomatodoxy was more educated, his interlocutor soon ceased to speak, having nothing to answer. After some silence, the first monk suddenly said this: “Nevertheless the Name of God is God Himself”. These unexpected words obviously testified the real praying experience contradicting the acquired concepts and theoretical conclusions. Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) writes that at the first acquaintance with the elder Hilarion's book, he decided that his doctrine on the Name of God is erroneous; so he wrote about this in a letter, intending to send it to the Elder. After that, feeling an extreme burden in his soul and being unable to realize its reason, he took in his hands the book of St. Father John of Kronstadt given formerly to him by Father John as a spiritual manual, mechanically opened it and found there the same words: “the Name of God is God Himself”13. Such evidence forced him to consider more seriously the question, which appeared as a stone of stumbling and offence for any person brought up in modern rationalism. Unfortunately, many people have been involved in sympathy to the doctrine of onomatoclasm, following the reasons, which seem quite natural nowadays, and not noticing that these reasons, caused by antichristian philosophy, completely contradict the Church Tradition. So, we could hear that onomatodoxes as if had mixed up a head with a skufia on this head. Thus, this phrase seems to be reasonable and similar to the truth: this is a head, and that is a skufia; so, this is God, and that is His Name. However, take off a skufia from a head – and the head will remain a head; give a skufia to another person – and it will become his skufia. On the contrary, removing the Name of God from God and giving it to somebody else is as impossible as removing from God all His most holy properties. The Catechesis also tells about this as follows: “God may be named with the most glorious and various names, which nobody can separate from Him”. If somebody dares to name with Divine names any human being (as “Khlysty” and other sects and some spiritual impostors did), still God will not cease to be the only Holy Trinity and the Name of God will not become the human name. A thief is able to steal the consecrated vessels from a church and to melt them, and he can not only convert a church into a den, but also destroy it at all, because all these things are creations, though they are devoted to God. Nevertheless, no sacrilegious person is able to take away the Name of God from God. In the case of false and blasphemous using of this Name, he will indispensably blame God, inseparable with His Name. At least the owner of a skufia has authority to give it to another man and to put on something else upon his own head. Nevertheless, even God cannot separate His Name from Himself, as well as He cannot change His properties, for His simple Essence is inseparable and invariable. Who ever, wishing to communicate with a man, look with all attention at his skufia? However, Holy Fathers teach us in praying to include all attention, without any exit, into words of a prayer, and first of all certainly into the Name of our Lord. Therefore, it would be possible to liken the Name of God, as a personal Name, not to a skufia, but to an appearance, to a human face, in beholding of which we behold the man and communicate with his person invisible to us, i.e. with his soul and his mind. In addition, any head, certainly, formerly existed without a skufia. However, though the sounds expressing the Divine names formerly did not exist, God never was anonymous, as well as He never was
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Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich). “My struggle with onomatoclasts on the Athos”, chapter II. 7

speechless, but in the beginning was the Word, naming His beyond-names Father. God has not taken anything external, any human name, and applied it to Himself for the sake of our convenience, but He has shown to us the innermost truth about Himself, i.e. His mysterious Name, and especially obviously – in the saving Incarnation of His Son and Word, our Lord Jesus Christ. The considerations natural for the modern man can lead us infinitely far off from the God-revealed Truth. That is why it is necessary to take care of keeping Divine words, of protecting us with them, and especially with the Lord's Name, from any temptations and errors. Even great ancient Saints occasionally, with God's sufferance, did incline for some period to sympathy to some heresies, as it was with St. Gerasim of Jordan. However, he with humility had asked for help of the great pillar of the Orthodoxy – St. Euthymius, and we, not having such an opportunity directly, are to hold with the greater caution the writings of Holy Fathers, both ancient and sent by our Lord to the Church at the last days. The hesitations of the ascetics, which are infinitely superior us in piety and feats, should not trouble us, because there are proper temptations for each period, and due tests are intended to each man. After the discussion on the doctrine about the Name of God had been stopped in Russia by revolution, dozens of years – almost whole century – passed. Now the moment came to return to this dispute, for in it the spiritual illnesses were shown, which became the reason of the Revolution and of renovationism, of Sergianism and ecumenism – all external troubles grown out from neglecting of the God-revealed doctrine of the Church and first of all – out from blasphemy of the Name of God. Although there is a dangerous tendency to defame, without distinction, pre-revolutionary bishops and clergy in general, as renovationists did, but there is an opposite danger consisting in idealization of all prerevolutionary things. There is no need to render false service to the departed bishops, by repeating, by strengthening, by developing and spreading their errors. If even those, who were mistaken in the past, could have some excuses, these apologies are not applicable any more to us, who have gathered the fruits of the former errors. If some of them might be forgiven for the sake of their feats and confessional sufferings, we can not at all hope thoughtlessly upon our imaginary virtues. Furthermore, our task certainly does not consist in judging the faults or, on the contrary, the merits of some or other church figures, but in avoiding of mistakes and errors that have already resulted in the great catastrophe for our country and the Local Church. The words of Mikhail Alexandrovich Novoselov, written by him at the end of 1918 – beginning of 1919, are the true testament for our time: “…I stated an idea that if it were possible to cover literally all Russia with apologetic leaflets and books, it would bring a small benefit for the Church. The principal illness of the church life is too deeply based in the bowels of the Church for being cured through such external means, as apologetics. This illness consists in losing the Orthodox self-consciousness and self-sensation, and also in deviation from Patristic basis of religious mind and life. This illness, as I pointed it out at that time, had stricken some representatives of hierarchy (I gave examples and named the persons, if you remember), some representatives of academic science, and also some shepherds, especially of educated ones. Naturally, this spiritual illness is spreading from top into breadth and depth of the Church community and of the people. …I see the deepest evading from Orthodox way of thinking in so-called onomatoclasm, i.e. in the worldview, which was carried out in the well-known Epistle of the Most Holy Synod “To the most honourable brethren, in monasticism struggling” published in May 1913, and in the reports attached to it. The question about the terrible and most holy Name of God, which is exclusive according to its significance and mystery, was at that time solved by the Synod with amazing thoughtlessness in respect of the incomprehensible Name of God, and with hardness of neck regarding the monks of Athos. …It is worthy of attention that the new onomatoclastic documents, issued already from the Patriarch Synod, are signed by the signatures not only of old onomatoclastic bishops, but also of new ones, and concerning some of them I have the reasons to assert that this signature was made by them without personal consideration of the great question about the Name of God and without a
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conscious belief in a righteousness of that decision, which they have fastened by their names. With great suffering, I note this more than sorrowful according to its criminal thoughtlessness fact. The attitude of the All-Russia Church Council to this question causes even more sorrow and amazement. It is known that the Council had not trusted in the decision issued by the former Synod, and thus, decided to subject the question about the Name of God to consideration in essence. What the Council was guided by, acting in this way? Was it by the understanding of its significance that had not allowed trusting in the decision given by the Synod? … It would be more correct to say that the Council, in overwhelming majority of its members, was so distant from essence of the question, so poorly interested in it, that simply “wrote it off in a commission”, to dump away from the shoulders this still unpleasant triviality, because of which someone quarrels and troubles the members of the Council with announcements and appeals. … In a few words, both the Synod and the All-Russia Church Council appeared to be not at the level of the question, which had been put forward by the Providence of God on the Holy Mountain of Athos. …In consent with professor Muretov, believing that onomatodoxy is “in a basis of the doctrine about the Three Consubstantial Persons of God, about the Divine and Human nature of the Saviour, about the Church, about the Sacraments, especially about the Eucharist, about veneration of icons etc.”, I see in onomatoclasm the religious subjectivism, which, breaking off the real ties with God and putting relative things in place of unconditional ones, psychological in place of ontological, naturally undermines the roots of the God-working Christ’s faith and of the Church, and is leading gradually to unbelief (eventually to human-deism and antichristism). …The onomatoclastic elements have poisoned our theological school, our hierarchy, our priesthood, and, naturally, are poisoning all the Church society. The fruits of this poisoning are evident for all. Without going far into depth of Russia, it is enough to look what is happening in her “heart” – Moscow. You know that only the blind or capable to see but with a covering on the eyes does not see the corruption, which has penetrated into our ecclesiastical life and which is a fruit of old practical onomatoclasm, recently fixed theoretically in the doctrine by the Most Holy and the Patriarch Synods. The protestant (ultimately, I repeat, human-deistic) principle of the religious subjectivism is offered to us officially, as a standard of spiritual life. This writing theoretically justifies and completes all that has so strongly flourished today. There are no obligatory for all and objectively authentic things, because there is no Christian self-consciousness universal for all; there is no unity of faith. There are no more “Guards of Israel”, which would direct the life unto the universal ecclesiastical way. Nobody is actively concerned in keeping the unity of faith, because by the helmsmen of the Church, the consciousness of this unity is lost, and they are drifting outside the Church way, where the tide of religious anarchy carries them. What ever a pretence is nowadays “the Triumph of the Orthodoxy”, this pompous declaration of the unity of the Faith, as if we confess this Faith – “the Apostolic, Patristic, Catholic one, which established the whole universe”! When I was present at this majestic Church celebration this year and was listening to an anathema in loud-voice by Patriarch's archdeacon, it seemed to me that this anathema with all its power was falling down not upon absent heretics and Bolsheviks, but upon the present onomatoclastic bishops. And with complete gravity I apply to them a terrible prophecy of St. Seraphim uttered by him a hundred years ago: “The Lord has shown to me that the time will come, when bishops of Russian land and other clerical persons will evade from keeping the Orthodoxy in all its purity, and for this the anger of God will strike them. For three days, I has been standing and asking the Lord to have mercy upon them, and I requested better to deprive me, humble Seraphim, of the Heavenly Kingdom, than to punish them. But the Lord did not decline to the request of humble Seraphim and told him that He would not have mercy upon them, for they would teach doctrines and commandments of men, and their hearts would stand far from Me” (“Dushepoleznoye chteniye”, 1912, p. 242-243). Has not already come the God’s anger predicted by the Saint upon our hierarchy and together with it upon all our Russian Church for “evading from purity of the Orthodoxy”!? Is it not for the blasphemy against the terrible Name of God, that our hierarchy bears heavy blows since the first days of the Revolution? Does not this blasphemy be the reason of the powerlessness, of this as if paralytic state, in which our ruling bishops are, understanding
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their paralysis, however it seems not understanding the reasons of it? The rational flock is wandering and running up in different directions, being carried “in various and strange teachings”, while the helmsmen of Church, as old men of an alms-house, only peep through the windows of their alms-house at the rational sheep, for which, instead of the uniform, strict, eternal, both live and life-giving Truth of Orthodoxy, the various surrogates of humanistic morals, of melodramatic sermon, of liturgical false aesthetics, and recently of “socialist Christianity” are offered. I have said, “They are looking”. No, they not only look, but also accept sometimes direct or indirect participation in cultivating of these surrogates. And if it is so, what is for them the God-working, invincible and terrible Name of God, which is necessary and close, and dear, and evident from experience only for those, for whom the Christianity is “the great mystery” of transforming the old man into a new creature, of deification of the man through Divine settling down into him that is given by the wonder-working Jesus Name mysteriously settling into the human heart? Dear NN! I say this to you as to my friend and brother in our Lord: do look into the heart of this great dispute about the Name of God, which you were avoiding till now as if fearing to be scorched. You have to do this, if not as a Christian, at least as a missionary. However, certainly, you will see nothing, approaching to the question with common missionary methods and not with the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom. Do believe that this question is incomparably more important than everything that was put forward at the All-Russian Church Council and is now being put forward at the present Higher Church Management. In its correct decision, our religious future is hidden. …I have outlined briefly, hastily for you the thoughts, which I did not find possible to hide in myself. What using you will make of my words, I do not know. As for me, I will tell you the following. Comprehension of exclusive importance of the question about the God-befitting worship of the Divine Name, on which our present and our future extending in eternity depends, and also recognizing onomatoclasm, this fruit and reason of religious unbelief and fearlessness, to be the most dangerous enemy of the Orthodoxy, which strikes the basic nerve of our faith, induce me to give all my vigour for censure of this souls-destroying error and for clearing up the opposite truth, the onomatodoxy. Nevertheless, aware of all insufficiency of my own individual forces for satisfactory resolving of this difficult task, I call upon for this activity other persons, more able than me”14. The Divine Word and Name. A brief sketch The Orthodox Christian doctrine about the Name of God is the particular case – more precisely speaking, the major part – of the doctrine about the Word of God. Therefore, it is necessary to consider more closely, what this doctrine is, and what it radically differs by from modern secular concepts. For the Christians, “Word” first of all, in primary and principal sense, means the Word of God – the Only-Begotten Son of the Eternal Father, by Whom all things were made. He is also the Image of His Eternal Father, “the Seal of the same image, showing in Himself Thee, His Father”15, possessing in Himself all the properties of His Parent. For this reason He may be called also the Name of the Eternal Father16, as the Prophet speaks about Him: Behold, the Name of the Lord cometh (Is. 30, 27), because the concept of the Word of God includes also the Name of God. St. Maximus the Confessor in his commentary on the Lord’s Prayer writes: “the Name of God the Father, existing in essential way, is the Only-Begotten Son”17, and St. Gregory the Great says: “the Son of God relates to the Father, as a word to mind… as a definition to the defined thing [i.e. as a name to the named thing], because a definition is also called a word” (part. 3, p. 80).
14

The letter to the member of the Missionary Council NN. First publishing: Rev. Pavel Florensky, Correspondence of priest Pavel Alexandrovich Florensky and Mikhail Alexandrovich Novoselov with addition of letters by hieroschemamonk German Zosimovsky, hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich), hieromonk Panteleimon (Uspensky), V.M.Vasnetsov, F.D.Samarin, F.K.Andreev, S.N.Durylin, I.P.Shcherbova / Under common edition of hegumen Andronik (Trubachev), Tomsk, 1998, p. 181– 186. (Italicised by Novoselov). 15 The words of the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. 16 Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) explains that in the times of St. Basil the Great seals were nominal. “On the seal we hardly read the name, but on the impression it is clear and evident, so in the Son appeared the incomprehensible perfection of the Father”. 17 The works by St. Maxim the Confessor, “Martis”, 1993, v. I, p. 189. 10

Hieroschemamonk Anthony Bulatovich writes that pre-eternal activity of the Word consisted in contemplation or naming of the Father, according to words of St. John of Damascus that God in pre-eternity was content by contemplation of Himself18. The activity of His Hypostases was directed to Himself: the Word was to God.i “The Father, eternally begetting the Word and reflecting in Him the perfections of Himself, was contemplating Himself in Him; the Word, eternally naming the Father, was contemplating His perfections; the Holy Spirit, eternally proceeding from the Father, together with the begotten Word, was filling by Himself the Word. But God, in His kindness, has wished to grant to His rational creature to know to some extent His perfections; and having created it, He has been opening gradually for it in the creation and in His Word a certain beam of His most shining Name”. This beam is the action of the Deity, and the Godrevealed Name of God is God Himself. The Name of God is holy and terrible (Ps. 110, 9) – as a beam of His glory, “but, certainly, the beyond-names Name, i.e. the Plenitude of the glory of Divine perfections, which only the Son knows, is infinitely more holy and terrible, as the sun is unbearably more bright than each of its rays”. In the commentary on the Psalm 110 by Zigaben, the words of Chrysostom are cited: “The Name of Christ is holy, as it works uncountable miracles … is holy and terrible, as filled with great amazing and wonder. Therefore, if His Name is terrible, is not His Essence much more <terrible>”19. Thus, secondly, after God the Word, we understand “words” and “names” as the Divine wills or ideas: first, about Himself, and then also about all the creatures, because the non-created, pre-eternal and Divine wills have brought all the creation from non-existence into existence, they keep it in existence and determine a way and a purpose of life of any creation. Therefore, they are the Same God, simple and inseparable, being in His various and incomprehensible actions. We may say that only the Divine words exist in reality, while creatures brought from non-existence and having in themselves no reason of their own life exist only depending on these wills and names. In the narration about the creation of the world we see, how the Divine words and naming of creatures in the twinkling of an eye, have called to existence the light, plants, animals. Through giving the names to the main creatures – day and night, sky, earth and sea – their origin was accomplished, and by these names, their further life was defined. Moreover, though Holy Fathers teach us to understand the words of the Scripture about the hand, or the muscle, or the ear of God as allegories, they tell nothing similar about words of God, but only explain that the question is not about the material shaking of air. However, we have already said that “name” or “word” always and first of all is understood as neither a set of sounds nor characters, because both of them are only external expression, manifestation or embodiment of the word that is required for those who are participating in substance, but not for God, alien to substance. As the man is created in the own image and likeness of the Creator, so, he also has a gift of speech. St. Makary the Great writes about the first-created man before the fall: “As in the Prophets the Spirit was acting and teaching them, and was inside them and was appearing outside them: so concerning Adam, when He wanted He was with him and taught him... The Word was all for him... The Word of God was for him the heritage, and the clothing, and the glory covering him, and the teaching for him. For the authority was given to him to name all things: this he named the sky, another – the sun, this he named the moon, another – the earth, this he named a bird, another – an animal and another – a tree. As he was taught, so he was giving names to creatures... [The Spirit] taught him and commanded him: call this so, name this so”20. Thus, the Word of God was for Adam the comprehension of every creature, and in this way, the giving of names for all animals, and then for the woman, – the only thing Adam had time to complete before his falling – was not a human action only, but the Divine Revelation. At the same time, the Lord says this: let us see, what he will call them, – as if all-knowing God did not know, how Adam would name animals. This very fact mysteriously indicates that the man, created in the image of God, was intended to be the co-creator, the fellowlaborer of God, to act in Him freely but not disobediently, by means of participating in Divine properties through the grace. Thus, words of the man – as he was before the fall – are also Divine words, i.e. God Himself in His incomprehensible actions. St. Ignaty (Bryanchaninov) emphasizes this idea, saying that the Lord Himself in the Gospel cites Adam’s words being uttered about the woman (while naming her by this
18 19

St. John of Damascus, “Exact summary of the Orthodox Faith”, v. 2, part 2, About the creature. “The Apologia”, part II. 20 St. Makary the Great, Homily 12, chapters 6 and 8. 11

name), as the commandment of God 21. In fact, to Adam’s words “for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh”, – the Lord added: “what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”. Thus, He made no difference here, because though it was Adam’s mouth, saying those words, but the very words, i.e. the truth enclosed in them, were the Divine commandment. Nevertheless, of all Divine truths and words the highest ones were, certainly, neither about animals nor about human beings, but about God, i.e. His Names – mysterious, unutterable, several of which the Lord had the kindness also to reveal to the man, i.e. to manifest Himself to some extent in His most perfect properties, as far as it is possible and necessary for man to perceive. The fall of the original people began through hearing the lie about God and then was completed by false words of the self-justifying. Likewise, the cause of any sin made in practice is violation of the Divine Truth. Thus, the man has lost the likeness to God, the image of him has been darkened, and his gift of speech has been deformed. The gift of speech, directed onto evil, strengthens and deepens the falling; so, giving the limits for this suicidal activity, in Babylon the Lord has confounded human languages. Words and names commonly used by the man after the fall are already the reflection of his restricted and injured knowledge of things, though in them, in unclear appearance, there are as if some shadows of the Divine Truth. The words of this kind by themselves are fluid and empty, because they have not God as their source; however they also have a seal of natural Revelation denoted in the world and in the man. Then, Righteous Enos began to call ii upon the Name of the Lord; i.e. after centuries of repentance, he had obtained the daring and the beneficial help of God, which was necessary for calling His Name, in spite of all the damage of the human nature. Thus, knowledge of God and word of the Truth was not growing scarce on earth, due to operating of the God’s Spirit in His Saints. Before covenanting of the Testament with the chosen people of God, the Lord appeared unto Moses in a bush and opened to him His Name – I am that I am, and then commanded to all the people: I am the Lord thy God … thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain. Hieroschemamonk Anthony Bulatovich writes about this: “From the beginning of the world origin, God has written names of His properties with the pen of the world creating. Later, He revealed many of His names by the Holy Spirit through the Prophets, and once from the mountain of Sinai He proclaimed aloud for all the people of Israel His Name and the ten commandments: I am the Lord thy God… – At last, He hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son (Heb. 1, 1) – the Names of His Hypostases and the Name of His Son “Jesus”, and the covenants of Him. These are not ever names of God’s beyond-names Essence, but names of His Hypostases’ properties and of His Essence’s properties inseparable from the Essence. Therefore in the names of God we also have all the essence of Omnipresent God, which, being not contained, contains Himself in a single word of the Name of God, but is not limited by it or by anything existing”. The Church recognizes all the God-inspired prophetical writings as the word of God, as action of the Spirit of the Truth, Who spake by the Prophets. While reading or listening reverently of these orations, which are restricted in their outer aspect and enclosed in sounds and characters, and therefore are similar to usual human words, we esteem them as action of God, i.e. as God Himself, opening unto us in His most perfect actions. The core of all God-revealed truths is the Divine Names, which are not at all arbitrary and not invented by people (for it would be falsehood and blasphemy)22, but in which our Lord had the kindness to show us His pre-eternal properties. Many of the names of God are similar to words meaning some created things, but not because something created would be conditionally or arbitrarily applied to the Deity, but because in the created world, and especially in the man, as we have said before, the names of God properties were written by the pen of the Divine creating of the world, and this was expressed in appropriate denominations. The names, which were applied to the Archetype not through human self-intelligence, but through action of God's
21 22

St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov). “The Homily on Man”. SPb, 1995, p. 27. The modern Protestant writer, popular even among some “Orthodox” people, – Clive Lewis – in his fairy tales represents God in the form of the lion, named Aslan. His good heroes do their deeds in the name of Aslan; they call this name in difficult minutes etc. For the Orthodox people it should be evident that it is already blasphemy, independently of all the rest, composed by the author about God. 12

Spirit, really open Truth about God; for this reason, they are the God-revealed truth, i.e. God Himself in His incomprehensible actions. St. Simeon the New Theologian says about this as follows: “God is one, … having many names, and is named by all of them, that we have said, and not only is named, but also really makes that in us, as those who have learned this by experience have taught us. Though about us are spoken many similar things, but it is spoken about us as about people, and about Him as about God… human words are fluid and empty, but the word of God is alive and operating, and likewise the truth of God is – beyond human mind and word – God immutable, existing and alive” (p. 107-108). – That means, as Fr. Anthony (Bulatovich) notices, that the people are also named good, wise, fathers, sons, Jesus (for example, the son of Nun or the son of Sirach) i, but only as people, in the image of One really good God and One Lord Jesus Christ; but while the words expressing usual human concepts are fluid and empty, for they speak about restricted and fluid subjects, the very truth about God, the truth expressed by His names, is God immutable. The Name of God of Jacob [will] defend thee (Ps. 19, 2) – that was the promise about the Name of God, given in the Old Testament; Let them praise Thy Great Name, for it is terrible and holy (Ps. 98, 3) – that was a prayer and glorification of it. In the Scripture, as well as in the Church prayers, in some cases the different properties of God are expressed through the different names, and in other cases they express this in more generalized way, as follows: purge away our sins for Thy Name’s sake (i.e. since, in particular, Thy name is “Good” and “Merciful”), or: according to Thy Name, O God, so is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth (i.e. according to Thy most perfect properties, Thy actions, which Thy Name testifies). Finally, in these last days there appeared the summit, centre and plenitude of all Divine Revelation: the Ineffable and Hypostatic Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us, full of Grace and Truth. Among all Divine deeds, shown by the Self-Truth, the God and Man, Christ, His both living and acting words have a special place. Therefore, when many of the former disciples left the Saviour, Peter answered Him: “Lord, to whom shall we go?” – And did not add: “For Thou work miracles, cure the ailing and revive the dead”, – but he said: “Thou hast the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6, 68). From all the books of the Holy Scripture, primarily the Good Tidings about the Incarnation of Christ and about saving of the fallen humankind – the Holy Gospel – is named the God’s Word. We render the due worship to it during the Divine Service – censing, lighting candles and kissing it. It is worthy of wonder that even iconoclasts, rejecting reverence of icons, have never dared to reject reverence of the Gospel, though it is enclosed in a material and visible covering. While in the Old Testament the summit of all Revelation consisted in announcing the Name of God, in the New Testament the revealing of the Name of the Incarnate God proves to be even more important. The Holy Gospel is first of all the Good Tidings about the Name of Jesus Christ and about the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Before anybody from the people could see the Son of God that come in flesh, His Name “Jesus” had been already shown, being, as well as all Divine Names, not invented by people, but opened by God. And also, completing His earth mission, the Son of God in the prayer to His Father testified: I have manifested Thy Name unto the men … I have declared unto them Thy Name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them (Jn. 17, 6, 26). Why ever, though a number of God’s names are known for us, the Name of God is usually spoken about as about unique one: “according to Thy Name” etc., instead of “according to Thy names”? Why it was ordered to baptize in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, instead of in the names? Why the same baptizing is spoken about, as it is in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ? If “names” only meant different human, subjective concepts or merely sets of the sounds used in some cases, all this would be senseless. Nevertheless, God-revealed names are God-revealed truths, inseparable actions of the most simple and inseparable Essence of God, inseparably and inalienably dwelling in them. Therefore St. Gregory of Nyssa says: “All the names of God equally name beyond-names essence of Which is, according to the prophecy: I am the Lord – this is My Name forever and this is My memorial unto all generations (Ex. 3, 15), I am that I am (3, 14), for I am merciful (Jer. 3, 12). Thus, by thousand other names meaning height and magnificence, the Holy Scripture knew to name the God, so that we exactly learn
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from this that when you utter any of these names, by this one name without a sound you will pronounce all the list of names. For, if He is named the Lord, it does not mean that other names do not belong to Him, but on the contrary, in this single name He is named by all the names”23. St. Cyril of Jerusalem in the 6-th Catechism homily also writes: “For our piety it is enough to know this single thing: that there is the God, One God, God Which is and Which is eternally [i.e. to know by faith His names] … God having numerous names, and Almighty, having in His Essence nothing heterogeneous. For, when He is named the Good One, the Righteous One, the Pantocrator, Sabaoth, because of this He is not various and different… It is difficult for us even to hear the Name of Him”24. And about the Holy Trinity St. Simeon the New Theologian says: “About all the God‘s names, by which God is named according to the properties common for all Three Persons, the same Name or property is seen in each Person and in all Three. If you call God the Light, each Person is the Light, and all Three again are the one Light”25. – Therefore we say “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”, for though there are Three Divine Persons, named by Their particular names, but the Name of God is one, as God Himself is one. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, interpreting the first application of the Lord’s prayer “hallowed be Thy Name”, writes the following: “The Name of God is so holy in itself, so famous and most glorified, that does not require any glorification from us: it is always equally glorious, holy and terrible, and emits beams of Its glory in creations… For the glory of the Name of God is eternal, infinite and unchanged, as well as God Himself, so that it cannot either increase or decrease relative to itself… The great Name of God comprises all His Divine properties not communicated to any creature, but being inherent to Him only, for instance: homoousia, eternity, omnipotence, kindness, wisdom, omnipresence, omniscience, righteousness, holiness, truth, spiritual essence and so on. These own properties the Holy Spirit shows to us in His word”26. – Nevertheless, what may be holy in itself, what is able to have eternal and constant glory and to give out its beams in creations, and so to comprise really all the Divine properties, but only the God Himself? In My Name shall they cast out devils (Mk. 16, 17), – said the Lord, and the Apostles testified: Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy Name (Lk. 10, 17). – Nevertheless, what may be casting the devils out, except God Himself in His incomprehensible actions? St. John of the Ladder writes this: “Do beat the enemies by the Name of Jesus, for there is no stronger weapon, either in the heaven or on the earth” (21, 7). Nevertheless, what may be, except the God, the strongest not only on the earth, but also on the heaven? St. John Chrysostom writes the follows: “Why is the Name of Him terrible? – Of it demons tremble, illnesses are frightened; through its force the Apostles were purifying the whole world; using it as the weapon, David defeated the enemy; it has wrought uncountable deeds: through it we are being consecrated through accomplishing the holy Sacraments”27. – It means that the Name of God works uncountable miracles and all the ecclesial Sacraments. The same Saint writes this: “And the Apostles were sent … so as we also at last believed. What should we believe in? – In the Name of Him we should do. We should not examine the essence of Him, but believe in the Name of Him, as it wrought even the miracles. In the Name of Jesus Christ, – says Peter, – rise up and walk (Acts 3, 6)”28. – Here, St. John Chrysostom reminds about the healing of the lame man; after the healing, Apostles testified before the people: Why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? … The God of our fathers hath glorified His Son Jesus... And through faith of His Name, His Name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith, which is by Him, hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all (12-16). And then at the judgment: Be it known unto you all, and unto all the people of Israel, that by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom ye crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, even by it iii doth this man stand
23 24

St. Gregory of Nyssa, Works, part 2, p. 412. St. Cyril of Jerusalem. “The Mystagogical Homilies”, 1893, p. 71–76. 25 St. Simeon the New Theologian. Works, 1890, part two, p. 73. 26 St. Tikhon of Zadonsk. The works, v. 3, book 2, p. 64–65. 27 The Interpretations on Psalms by Euthymius Zigaben, Ps. 110, 9. 28 St. John Chrysostom. The works, v. 9, p. 492. 14

here before you whole… For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4, 10, 12). In the interpretation on the Gospel by the Blessed Theophilact, we can read about this: “After saying: through faith of His Name, – he says, correcting the speech: His Name has made strong; – because the healed man believed because of the healing. It means the follows: What do I say that the lame man had stood up firmly on his feet after having believed in the Name of Christ? Before he believed, the Name of Christ, after being called, had already made him strong. So great is its force and so many of beneficial gifts it emits”. Among the last and grandest commands, gifts and promises, the Saviour has also left to His disciples the prayer by His Name, the force of which they had already known. Then, after the Lord’s Resurrection and after descending of the God’s Spirit, the Apostles wrought by this Divine Name a lot of the most glorious miracles. Afterwards, they baptized thousand people in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, as the Lord had commanded them. In the Name of the Incarnated Lord, the Christians were named, as they carried the marvellous Name of Christ upon them. For the confession of the faith in the Name of the Lord Jesus, multitudes of Martyrs suffered various torments; this Name was that the Apostles and their disciples have brought unto the limits of the world. The Angel of God has testified for St. Hermas, the disciple and the Apostle of Christ: “The Name of the Son of God is great and indescribable, and immeasurable. It holds the whole world”29. Among the first disciples and successors of the Apostles, we could not pass without mention St. Ignatius the God-bearer, which was so named because of his constant bearing of the Name of Jesus Christ in his mind and heart. His torturers became the witnesses of this, when they had seen in the Saint’s heart saved from lions’ mouth, the Name of Jesus Christ written with gold letters. Other evidences of the Scripture and of the Church Tradition about the Name of God we shall quote further, during the analysis of the onomatoclasts’ writings. The Epistle of the Russian Synod of 1913 and the doctrine about the Word of God We must pay a great attention to analysing of the Synod Epistle of 1913 not only because it pretended to resolve finally the dispute about the Name of God, but also because it reflects the basic positions of onomatoclasm. The most characteristic feature for the Epistle is that it offered the answers to the most important questions, not on the basis of the careful analysing of the Church Tradition but through conclusions seeming natural for the modern man. It is no wonder that attempt of founding the faith definition on such an unsteady basis caused many evident contradictions, because the authors of the Epistle though, certainly, did not want to break resolutely the Divine Revelation, but completely declined to accept seriously the God-revealed truths. As a result, among the authors of the Synod Epistle, no consensus appeared to be even in the most basic positions. So, Prof. S.V.Troitsky in his report considered by the Synod, said: “The God's Name understood as the Revelation of God and in its objective aspect, i.e. in the sense of revealing the truths to man, is the God's energy, eternal and inseparable from God, and which is perceived by people only as far as their created and restricted nature and moral virtue allow this. To the word used in this sense we may apply the name of the Deity”. Nevertheless, without condemning S.V.Troitsky for his doctrine, the Epistle says: “The name of God is only a name, but not God and not His property, a title of a subject, but not a subject, and consequently can not be recognized or named either God (it would be senseless and blasphemously) or Deity, because it is not also the energy of God”. Moreover, in the same paragraph, a little above, the Epistle declares the follows: “This name is Divine, as being opened to us by God”. – It means that the Synod does not consider the Divine Revelation as the action of God; the following lines of the Epistle contain justification of such a new and strange doctrine:
29

St. Hermas. "The shepherd", similarity 9, chapter 14. 15

“…It is impossible to equate the words delivered by human mouth, even about God, to words delivered by the mouth of God… The Apostles saw on the Tabor the Divine glory and heard the Divine voice. We may say about them that they heard and saw the Deity. After coming down from the mountain, the Apostles committed to memory all that had happened to them, and then they narrated to other people, communicating all the words they had heard. Is it allowable to say that they communicated others the Deity? Was their story the energy of God? Certainly not: it was only the fruit of Divine energy, the fruit of His action in the created world”. Thus, it appeared as if the same words were Divine when the Lord uttered them, but in the Apostles' mouths became human. Of course, it would be possible to think so, only if we meant under “words” no more than a set of sounds conditionally correlated with some concepts and phenomena (as the nature of sounds really may be various), or absolutely subjective ideas produced by speaking person. But it would mean that “words” in the biblical sense of the word, i.e. not conditional, but absolute ones, not secondary in relation to human mind and all the creation, but primary ones, and in which God manifests Himself unto the people, do not exist at all. Somebody might say that these very words exist, but cannot be repeated by people without transformation into created words. However, it would mean that they do not exist at all, because the word is characterized by remaining the same, even after transferring. If ever the words of God after transferring became human, it would mean that they were no more than human from the very beginning, and only the sounds of them could be divine. Archbishop Nikon (Rozhdestvensky) in his book “The Double-edged Sword” confesses more in details the modern rationalistic-nominalistic doctrine about the word: “The name is a conditional word corresponding in more or less degree to that subject, about which we want to think; it is a certain conditional sign necessary for our mind, and which we clothe in sounds (a word), in characters (a letter) or only represent in mind; it is an abstract image (idea) subjectively conceivable, but having no real existence outside of our mind. Without such a token, our mind would be unable to approximate unto understanding of the subject that we mean under some or other name. Our spirit in itself, outside of a body, maybe does not need such names; but now, while he is contained in solid substance, we cannot think in other way but through mind-represented images, ideas, words, names. Usually, a name specifies for us some properties of a subject that we approximate to our thinking, but I say once more: really, name in itself does not exist either spiritually or materially”. It is evident that in such system of views there is not any place for the Orthodox concept on the Divine Revelation. And of course, it is impossible to find such a doctrine anywhere in Holy Fathers' writings: the Fathers’ citations quoted by Archbishop Nikon are concerning the external, acoustical aspect of word or concerning human words only that indicate but restricted and fluid human concepts, instead of God-revealed truths. Archbishop Nikon writes the follows: “Nevertheless, if either in human language a word or in our thinking an idea completely embracing all the properties and perfections of God were found, even in that case it would be only an idea about God, only a reverent thought about Him, only our subjective notion, instead of Him in the Essence. You may say that it would be only a mental image of God, a spiritual, mindrepresented icon of Him, and not He Himself”. Here it is definitely declared that any word about God is subjective (in the same book it is called “an abstract representation of mind”); but “subjective” means the same thing as produced by human mind, and therefore obviously false, because true knowledge about God may be only God-revealed. Thus, the dispute neither was about sounds nor about the outer appearance, but about the sense of the Name, i.e. about the Divine Truth expressed in it. The opinion about complete impossibility of real knowledge of God, which was declared by the way as a self-evident thing, shows all the depth of the discussed question. Consequently, it becomes clear, why the humble book of schemamonk Hilarion has roused so strongly the Church society. Let us also pay attention to the fact that the words of Archbishop Nikon oppose our subjective representation of the God to the Essence of God. Thus, he denies the real and not subjective presence of God by His energies in God-revealed sayings and names that is the essence of Divine Revelation.
16

However, it seems that Archbishop Nikon, having noticed that his doctrine about the Name of God hardly might be reconciled with the Scripture and Church prayers, tries to correct the situation as follows: “Nevertheless, are the names of God only representations of our mind about properties and conditions [?] of God, even though we know them from the Divine Revelation? Do they possess no practical relation to our spiritual life, to that spiritual sphere, which surrounds us? Of course, they possess some; but for clarifying this relation, it is necessary to pass from the sphere of Dogmatism into the sphere of psychology, into the sphere of life of our soul, our internal man. If a mysterious bride in the Book of the Song of Solomon says to her bridegroom: Thy name is the poured myrrh (1, 2), if we cannot utter indifferently a name of our mother, father, brother, friend: if the King and the Prophet David, only remembering God, rejoiced in his heart: is it possible that a soul being fond of the Lord, looking for Him, desiring Him, did not feel fragrance of this spiritual myrrh, of the most sweet name of the Lord? Not in vain the Holy Church by the mouth of Godrevealed songs names the Lord's name the sweetest, most esteemed, magnificent, worthy of worship: you see the most holy name tells to our hearts about the most sweet, most generous Jesus, and consequently about all things, in which our eternal delight, eternal saving consists. Our soul is so arranged that hearing any name, she is already as though representing in her eyes a spiritual image of a person, the name of which is uttered, and could she not to start with reverence about the name of God, if she believes sincerely in God? But even independently of this so natural feeling of reverence, we believe that the Lord, Which is called in His name, is by His grace near to people calling Him in truth”. Here we can see the detailed doctrine about only subjective-psychological connection between the Name of God and God Himself. As you see below, the Russian Synod has confessed in their Epistle the same doctrine. It is necessary to notice the likeness between this doctrine and an explanation popular nowadays among modernists concerning reverence of icons – by analogy with sentimental feelings at contemplation of a photo of a beloved person. (Later we will consider in more detail, what kind of correlation is between reverence of icons and of the Name of God). The last cited phrase of Archbishop Nikon, in spite of its seeming correctness, in this particular context obviously expresses an idea that the Lord is near to us independently of calling of His Name, and that this calling neither means nor makes any special thing, but only generates in us so natural (i.e. belonging to the nature and not gracious) feeling of reverence. Therefore, the words well known for all of us – “calling Him in truth” – in this phrase do not mean anything at all, because Archbishop Nikon perfectly denies just the presence of real and not subjective truth in the called Name. As to the Synod Epistle, how we have already seen, it asserts that the Apostles' narration was not the energy, i.e. the action, of God. It unavoidably follows from here that it is completely wrong to name the Scripture, and especially the Holy Gospel, “the Word of God”: the matter concerns only created human words. Having rejected the divine nature of the words uttered by God and retold by the Apostles, the Epistle especially rejects the divine nature of those words, which God never uttered directly, – the words, “by which we name God” in Church prayers. Nevertheless, we, the Orthodox Christians, naturally name God only by those words, which are given within Divine Revelation through the Prophets, Apostles and Holy Fathers. Thus, their God-revealed words, in opinion of the authors of the Epistle, are not the words of God in exact sense. Obviously, here the doctrine expressed in the Creed about the Holy Spirit is rejected: “Who spake by the Prophets”, i.e. that God the Holy Ghost spoke in the Prophets, as later in the Apostles and others Saints. The Synod recognizes the true God-revealed words as “the fruits of Divine energy”, but in such a sense, in which the whole created world is a fruit, or result, of Divine action, thus this expression adds nothing to a virtue of Divine Revelation in comparison to all the creation. Therefore, it is no wonder that the Epistle further finds in the reverence of Divine words “deification of the creation, pantheism that considers all existing as God”. Actually, we might, for example, to name as the “fruits” of Divine actions in this sense the books, in which the Divine Revelation is written down and which are certainly created, as well as characters and sounds, by means of which this Revelation is expressed and transmitted. However, this external aspect of the Revelation is in unbreakable connection to the truths about God, which we cannot in any way include in a sphere of created things, restricted and having got their beginning. Nevertheless, the Synod Epistle denies concerning the Name of God even the presence of “the Divine force enclosed in it or attached to it”.
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But if a man believes not only that the words of the Scripture in their nature differ by nothing from all other creation, but also that they have not at all any Divine force connected to them, what feelings should he observe the lighting of candles and the censing before the book of the Gospel with? What should he think, kissing it during a Sunday service? Is it not obvious that in his eyes all this should be idolatry, and only a habit and a feeling of decency could forbid him for a while to reject these Church traditions? Really, like Judas kissing hypocritically the Gospel, the head of which is the Name of God, and which contains the high doctrine about the Name of God, some onomatoclasts were not afraid to trample by their feet the same Name written on a simple sheet of paper30. The Synod Epistle says: “The expressions “Thy name”, “the Lord's name” and similar to them in the language of the holy writers (and according to them, in the language of of the Fathers of the Church and in church songs and prayers) are simply descriptive expressions similar to: “the glory of the Lord”, “eyes, ears, hands of the Lord” or, concerning a man, “my soul”. It would be extremely erroneous to understand all such expressions literally and to assign eyes or ears to the Lord or to consider soul separately from man. There are also no sufficient reasons to see in the above expressions any signs of a special doctrine about Names of God, of deification of Names of God: they mean simply: “Thee” or “the Lord””. Therefore, the authors of the Synod Epistle, in complete concord with modern faithless consciousness, consider the greatest and highest sayings of the Scripture and the Church Tradition about the Name of God as empty expressions meaning nothing in essence, allegories maybe adapted to mind of naive people of antiquity, as it is now conventional to think. Actually, the Holy Fathers, interpreting the Scripture, of course explain that it is necessary to understand expressions “eyes, ears, hands of the Lord” allegorically. However, where do they ever speak anything similar about the Name or about the glory of God? We have already pointed out that about God’s words the Holy Fathers explain only that we should not understand them as material sounds; they also discern the difference between those words, which are caused by human restricted mind, and God-revealed words, and at last, they distinguish a verbal action of God from His essence. In spite of all this, the Holy Fathers do not speak anywhere that words in general are only human phenomenon, assigned to God by analogy: on the contrary, in the man the gift of speech (in contrast to hands, legs or eyes) is the main feature of the God’s image. However, it appears that the authors of the Epistle do not consider as the Divine energy not only the Name, but also even the glory of God. They evidently show that as eyes or ears are material objects peculiar to the man and applied to God only allegorically, so also the glory may be material only, applied to God by analogy31. But the Apostle writes: All the glory of man as the flower of the grass, … but the word of the Lord endureth for ever; and this is the word, which by the Gospel is preached unto you (1 Pet. 1, 24-25); so, in the word of the Lord, preached unto us the Christians through the Apostles, the glory of the Lord is manifested, perfectly different from the human glory, and this word of the Truth endures for ever. Having rejected the reality of the divine glory, the authors of the Synod Epistle also reject all the “special doctrine about Names of God”, for they believe that it is possible, without serious consequences and without any loss, to replace the expression “the Name of God” by “God” everywhere in the Scripture, in church prayers and in the Holy Fathers’ doctrine. Nevertheless, how it could be possible to replace the words “the Name of God” by “God” in Holy Fathers’ interpretations on the application of the Lord’s Prayer “Hallowed be Thy Name”? St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, whose commentary we have already quoted, follows the concept of the ancient Fathers, for example, of St. Cyril of Jerusalem: “the Name of God is holy by nature, whether we say or do not say it”32, – the context shows obviously that here the question is about the Name in exact sense and not about God in general sense. Interpreting the words “The Holy Things unto the holy” and “One is Holy”, St. Cyril says about our Lord Jesus Christ: “He is really One Holy, Holy by the nature”. From here, it is evident that as
30 31

It was really during the disputes on Athos. It is not clear, whether the authors of the Epistle did understand that "my soul" is not allegory, though it sometimes is used as a synonym of a word "man". You see, the man has except for soul also a body, and so an expression "my soul" has also quite concrete, special sense, and "the special doctrine" about soul really contains in the Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. 32 St. Cyril of Jerusalem. “The Mystagogical Homilies”, 1893, p. 71–76. 18

God, so also His Name is holy by the nature and not because of consecration or deification, which is impossible to say about any creation. Certainly, it is since the Name of God is not a separate essence having its own particular nature, but God's action or energy inseparable from Who is acting. “Hallowed be Thy Name” – this is the first application of the Lord’s Prayer, in which we ask that we also be able to glorify truly the Name of God as by mouth, through confession of it, so by the true faith in it and through deeds founded on this faith. The Lord Himself, teaching His disciples about praying, in the first application not in vain said also about the Name. You see that in His Name, God reveals unto us and we comprehend, profess and glorify Him; His Name consecrates the deeds of our hands, because “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” we begin any deed, and “in the Name of the Lord” we go forth to accomplishing of the God’s commandments. In the same way, the second application, “Thy Kingdom come”, not in vain tells about Kingdom, but speaks clearly about Divine grace, which we hope to receive through the true faith in the Name of the Lord; and in the third application, “Thy will be in the earth as it is on Heaven”, we ask in particular about the good and most perfect will of God, i.e. we ask, that our sins and infirmity would not hinder its accomplishing about us. Therefore, in the first three applications of this great prayer, we speak about God in His actions, by which He opens to us, gives mercy on us, saves us and shows His Providence about us. Here, the exact expressions of the Lord's Prayer prevent both disgracing of the Divine energies and mixing them up with the incomprehensible essence of God. The fact is that after the substitution of words “the Name of God” by “God” in sayings of the Scripture or in prayers, very often the true expressions also arise, however not because the word “Name” is an empty and unneeded sound, but just because the Name of God is God Himself, so as the expressions about the Name of God appeared generally to be applicable to God manifesting Himself in His Name. Whenever they speak also about the glory of God or about wisdom, kindness, force, greatness, omnipresence of God and so on, it means God Himself too. However, these expressions are uttered neither vainly nor allegorically, but because God really possesses these Divine properties, really reveals them and in them opens Himself and becomes known to us. And besides the names opening Divine properties, we can say nothing truthfully about God, but because of inseparability of His energies from the Essence, we have in the Name the entire God, however not contained, i.e. not restricted by it, as St. John of Kronstadt writes. Archbishop Nikon was also right before of all these disputes, when in the consent with the doctrine of the Church, he wrote that the Name of God is the same that the incomprehensible God’s essence opening Itself to the people. Let us quote here the words of hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) that have caused so selfaccusatory statements of the Synod: “Thus, since the Church recognizes the visible Light of the Tabor as being the God and utters anathema on those, who do not recognize this Light as God, in the same way the words of God on the Tabor, i.e. the naming of Jesus as “the Son Beloved” (Lk. 9, 35), is also God as the verbal action of God; in the same way, in general, all the God-revealed truths shown by the Holy Spirit through the Prophets and Apostles and Godbearing men, and also those that were uttered by the Incarnated God the Word, as well as all the moved-byGod prayers and all the Church prayers inspired for the Church by the Holy Spirit, are God, for they are the verbal action of God. Hence, any Name of God as the God-revealed Truth is God Himself, and God in them dwells by all the essence, because of inseparability of His essence from His actions… Though we do not name the essence of Who is, naming God according to His properties revealed to us, but in named properties of God, we have inseparably this essence of Who is”33. As a confirmation, Fr. Anthony cites some of the words of St. Simeon the New Theologian we have already cited, namely: “God is one, … having many names, and is named by all of them that we have said, and not only is named, but also really makes that in us, as have taught us those who have learned this by experience. Though many similar things are said about us, but it is about us as about the people, and about Him as about God … human words are fluid and empty, but the word of God is alive and operating, and likewise the truth of God is – beyond human mind and word – God immutable, existing and alive”. In the Epistle from these words only one phrase is quoted: “Human words are fluid and empty, but the word of God is alive and operating, and likewise the truth of God is – beyond of human mind and word –
33

“The Apologia”, parts I and II. 19

God immutable, existing and alive”, about which it further says that it has not any relation to the Name of God, and thus the Epistle accuses onomatodoxes in misinterpretation of the God-revealed text and threatens them with appropriate anathema. Actually, the authors of the Epistle do not refer this saying of St. Simeon to the Name of God just because, as we already saw, they do not really consider the Revelation of God and in particular the God-revealed Name of God as the word of God, existing and alive. Trying to deny the truth that the Name of God is God, i.e. He Himself and not anything other, extraneous and alien to Him, onomatoclasts quoted sayings similar to the following words of St. Gregory the Theologian against evnomians: “God is not yet the thing that we have imagined under a concept of God, or which we have drawn Him by, or which the word has described Him by”34. However, the Homily of St. Gregory was directed against the people, who hoped to comprehend God through their own intellect and believed that they were able to comprehend His essence. So, here first of all it is shown that our own natural thoughts (“that we have imagined under a concept of God”) can by no means provide us with true knowledge of God, though they can and should lead us to the idea about His existence. Secondly, even when God reveals Himself truly to His creatures, it does not mean that they comprehend the Essence of Him or even God’s properties in all their plenitude, or even one particular property or action of Him. In other words, God is not at all comprehended in natural way by proud human mind; and even when He reveals Himself to the people in supernatural, beneficial and mystery way, He is neither restricted nor exhausted by this granted knowledge. It is no wonder that the Saint here does not considerate relations between the Essence and energies, and also does not explain in detail that the Divine Revelation, as well as all Divine energies, is the Same God revealing Himself to the people, because His actions are the most perfect ones and inseparable from Who is acting. After all, any discussion about such things with evnomians would be completely useless and aimless; and the Saint did not want by his Homily to teach them any theological truths, but to make them humble and to force them to refuse their arbitrary philosophy so as through repentance they could be set on the only path leading to the true knowledge of God. Therefore, though St. Gregory mentions from time to time this true knowledge of God in his homily, but every time he gives to understand that it is useless to speak about this with evnomians. However onomatodoxes were always extremely far from the evnomian pretensions to know God's Essence, or even to comprehend completely His properties through their names, but they asserted the truth and reality of God’s Revelation, and also true and real presence of God in those outwardly restricted and material words, through which this Revelation is expressed and transmitted. Therefore, hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) also quotes the words of St. Simeon the New Theologian: “God is unexplained, incomprehensible, unknowable... unapproachable, invisible, unutterable, unthinkable for all beings created by Him... However He, as philanthropic and of much mercy, had regretted of our ignorance and so condescended to our infirmities, as it was required that we should have learnt that the Holy Trinity is One perfect God, Which it is worthy of worship devoutly in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Ghost... All the Divine Scripture obviously reveals about God... that God is Which is, and everlasting is, and He is of Three Hypostases, Almighty, the Pantocrator, all-seeing, the Creator, and also Who makes the Providence about all, all-sufficient and supernatural One, and that we know Him in such measure as somebody is able to see of the shoreless sea, while he stands on its edge at night, with a small burning candle in the hands... However, if somebody has achieved to know God to some small extent… for him there is no need in teaching from anybody else, because he has the entire God, Which lives, dwells and speaks inside of him and teaches him unutterable mysteries”35. Intending to prove that the Name of God is not even the energy of God, Archbishop Nikon quotes the following sayings: “Not for the sake of God, but for our sake, names are invented for obtaining the concept about Who is, i.e. about God (St. Gregory of Nyssa, 6, 331). The names assigned to God, are recent in comparison with God, for God is not a saying and not in a voice and sound has the existence (p. 324)”. Thus, one of modern onomatoclasts also writes straightly that the energies of God by all means should be eternal as God Himself, and so, the names that appeared afterwards cannot be the energy of God.
34 35

Archbishop Nikon, “The double-edged sword”. “The Apologia”, part II, p. 99–100. 20

However, St. Gregory Palamas clearly states that many from Divine energies have their beginning or ending in the time, as for example it was told that the Lord rested from His work on the seventh day, i.e. on the seventh day the energy of world’s creation was finished36. Of course, the same energy had also the beginning, for it did not operate, when the world was not yet created. In the same way, God’s Providence, His dispensation of our saving, and also all the Revelation of God about Himself have their beginning, because all this is “for our sake”; however it does not hinder the Revelation, a core of which the Divine names make, to be the action of God. Certainly, such a restrictedness of Divine energies in the time is external only, caused by their appearance in the restricted and created world. For it is impossible to think that, having begun to create the world, God thus obtained a new quality or new property. Therefore, the names open to us, are the true beams of the true Sun of the Truth, which were set from the eternity in Him, and in the world were shown in different time, when the Lord was revealing Himself for the people in one or other way. Onomatoclasm and the Barlaam heresy Then, since the question was about the energies of God, it was no wonder that the doctrine of St. Gregory Palamas was touched on, which in the Epistle was resolutely brought to naught through the only phrase, as follows: “St. Gregory taught to apply the name “Deity” not only to the essence of God, but also to His “energy” or energies… and thus, he taught to use the word “Deity” in a rather more wide sense, than usually”. Thus, all the dispute of St. Gregory versus the heretic Barlaam appeared to be a simple debate about the using of words. In fact, the Synod Epistle completely agrees with the doctrine of Barlaam, for it declares that the word “Deity” can be applied to the Divine energies only “in a more wide sense than usually”, i.e. not in usual sense of the word, in which it is applied to the essence of God. Further, the Epistle says that St. Gregory “does not anywhere name the energies “God”, but teaches to name them “the Deity” (not Theos, but Theotis)”. – In truth, Barlaam would not argue about the Divinity with Saint Gregory, if the latter thought that “the Deity” does not yet mean “God”. However, just because of this question, St. Gregory condemnes Barlaam, saying him inventing two sorts of the Deity – non-created (which only God is) and created (which Barlaam considered Divine energies to be)37. After that, the Epistle offers a justification of this Barlaam doctrine: “It was told: “Christ on the Tabor revealed His Deity”, but nobody would tell: “Christ on the Tabor revealed His God””. Really, the word “God” is grammatically used in other way, therefore it would be possible to say that Christ on the Tabor “appeared as God”, “revealed Himself as God” or “revealed God in Himself”, but it is impossible to say that He revealed “His God”, because the last expression in common using of words would mean “God, Which He worships”. However, the purpose of the Epistle was to show that “the Deity” does not mean necessarily “God”; therefore, in the given example they obviously tried to prove that, though the Deity did appear on the Tabor, God did not appear there at all. It is an especially blasphemous idea, for it rejects not only that the Divine energies are God in His operations, but also that Christ is true God, because Him undoubtedly the disciples saw on the Tabor. Therefore, it is no wonder that Archbishop Nikon, condemning the worshippers of the Name of God in Panteleimon monastery of Athos, declared that Christ is not God, as He is inferior in comparison with the Father38. Obviously, he uttered this, being blinded by anger, however the reason of this blinding was in the heresy, which inevitably led to denying of God and Man Christ. Archbishop Nikon writes about the onomatodoxes: “From everything that was written by the supporters of the new doctrine, it is evident that they understand under the word “God” not the Person, but something, certainly in spiritual and not material sense, pantheistic, for according their doctrine, any property of God, any action of God, Word of God, commandment of God, all the revelation of God, any appearance
36 37

St. Gregory Palamas, Triadas in the defence of the holy-hesichasts. Triada III, part 2, chapter 8. The authors of the Epistle perverted this idea, directing it not against those who did not esteem the Deity as God, but against the God's Name worshippers, which as if deified the created name. In fact, it is possible that the perversion of sense concerning St. Gregory’s saying was not made purposely, because, unfortunately, his writings were almost completely unknown in Russia at the time. Thus, in the Epistle there was a reference not to the works of St. Gregory Palamas, but to the “History of Athos” by bishop Porphyrius. 38 M. K. “The Athos’ revolter” (From our correspondent from Suma) // Russkoye Slovo, 1913, July 9th. 21

of beneficial gifts, peaceful and pure feeling in soul justified by God, all fruits of the Spirit, and also the very prayer and the name Jesus – these all are “God”, and even “confession of the name of Jesus in Jesus prayer is Lord Jesus Christ Himself”. That is their concept about God. However, according to such a concept about God, where is the person, as the most significant attribute of such a concept? Words of the Saviour: words that I said are spirit and life, they understand in their own way, and the words: spirit and life they write from capital letters. Therefore, to all names, words and actions of God they give the special mystical sense, because of which they esteem these all as God”39. Thus, Archbishop Nikon believes that actions and properties of God are impersonal. Nevertheless, how it can be supposed, if energies, having no their own separate essence, are the appearance of the Person, or more precisely, of Three Persons of inseparable Trinity, and therefore they are Personal God, Which is acting and revealing Himself? We would lose the concept on the Personal God just if we separated this inseparable energy from the Essence and Persons of God, considering it as a certain special essence deprived of personal properties. Let us remark that the very property to be a person, and also all the properties associated with this: reason, knowledge, mercy etc. – are energies, but to name them impersonal ones means to come in contradiction in terms. Here we see merely a Barlaamistic understanding of energies as things of other nature than God Himself. Because of such an opinion, Archbishop Nikon considers as pantheism the deification of properties and actions of God and believes that actions of God have no “special mystical sense”. As an example by analogy, Archbishop Nikon offers a royal decree, which we do not identify with his personality. Certainly, analogy between God and a man cannot be complete: human wills are changeable, fluid and frequently inconsistent, while God is the most perfect, simple Being, Whose energies are also perfect and co-eternal with Him, and unrestricted, though they appear in the temporary world, and consequently, as we have already said, they may have external (formal) restrictedness. In contrast to the man, God is the simple Being, i.e. we cannot say that He consists of anything (for example, of the essence and energies). But despite of such a distinction between God and the man, St. Basil the Great writes: “Our word also is a noetic generation begotten without passion; it is neither cut off, nor separated, nor flow out; but the entire mind, remaining in its own structure, produces the entire perfect word; and the begotten word contains the entire force of the begetting mind”40. – Thus, a human word is also inseparable from the person, and so, while saying, “we are obedient to the Tsar”, we mean without doubt that we are obedient namely to his orders. You see there is no another way to enter the dialogue with a person but through his actions, wills, energies. It is especially true when we speak about God, Whose all-perfect essence is completely incomprehensible and inviolable for man. However, knowledge of God and communion of God through His energies exists quite really, as communion of God Himself, instead of any impersonal energies. Therefore, this truth was asserted by the worshippers of the Name of God and rejected by Archbishop Nikon, as after him by the Synod Epistle. Let us add that the God's Name worshippers condemned by the Epistle did not separate the energies from the essence of God and at the same time did not at all confuse them. However, since some people perceived the expression “the Name of God is God Himself” in the sense “the Name of God is the essence of God”, and others thought that the question was about sounds of the Name, schemamonk Hilarion himself explainsthis as folows: “While saying “the name of God is God Himself”, I meant not sounds and characters, but the idea of God, properties and actions of God, qualities of God’s nature or in general all its belonging, because the Holy Fathers meant under names of God not the essence of God, which is not named, but namely: properties or actions. Thus it is necessary to say also that we express, while uttering “the Name of God is God Himself”, as though as follows: “the name of God is nobody else, but He Himself”... I say again: nobody else but He – He Himself, according to inseparability of His Name from Him (though we discern the Name of God from the Essence of God, but do not separate them, I repeat). And by sounds we only utter, name or call God’s Name, which is in God, as His belonging; and by characters we draw it, i.e. represent, write; but it is only
39 40

Archbishop Nikon (Rozhdestvensky). “The great temptation about the most Holy name of God”. The works of the Holy Fathers, v. VIII, part IV, p. 271. 22

external aspect of the Name of God, while internal one is property or action, which we have clothed into this shape of pronunciation or writing”41. Consequently, here God’s Essence and His properties named by us are not mixed up, but they are not also separated from each other according to simplicity of God and, certainly, owing to believing in the truth of His Revelation about Himself. On the other hand, it is not implied that through naming of God according to His properties we obtain complete knowledge about Him or even about separate properties of God, nevertheless, the truth is affirmed that our knowledge, even small, but gathered from the Revelation, is true, and so it introduce us into real and not subjective communication with the Self-Truth that is God. This is the sense of the doctrine, against which the Synod on behalf of three bishops was up in arms in such degree that they have subjected to excommunication the confessor of this doctrine elder Hilarion, and they did this without seeing, without addressing to him in any way, without asking, what the faith held by him was (if his book seemed not clear enough), and also without informing him about the adopted decision. It is necessary to notice that the elder, struggling on the mountains of the Caucasus, having learned this, sent a letter to the Synod, asking for the confirmation whether he was really excommunicated from Church, but received no answer. The Synod Epistle (and in more details – Archbishop Nikon) asserts that the word “God” is allowable for speaking about the essence of God or His Person only, and not about His energies. However, in fact the words “God” or “Holy Spirit” is also applied to the energies, – when they show our communication with God, Which acts and appears; and sometimes we say “action of the Holy Spirit” or “grace of God”, if the purpose is to discern the difference between the energy and the incomprehensible Essence. St. Gregory Palamas also, to show that the energies are not the same thing, as the essence of God, quotes such expressions from the Scripture, as follows: I will pour of My Spirit (instead of “I will pour My Spirit”)42. However, having settled this question, further he writes about the light of the Tabor: “Concerning the fact that this spiritual world-transcending and unfading light is God Himself, Gregory, named the Theologian, said definitely as follows: “God, Who has willed to arrange this world, Himself is the Light for His eternal creations, and nothing else; because what need may be in other light for those, who have the greatest One?””43 After him, St. Gennady the Scholary, the disciple of St. Mark of Ephesus, writes the follows: “As the simplicity of God requires, they [the essence and the energies] have the same measure of existence, and so both of them are one Infinity and One God”44. And St. Mark of Ephesus himself, convicting the Latins for their heresy of Barlaamism, says: “These low creatures “worship” the created Deity and the created Divine light and the created Holy Spirit”45, – and you see that Latins nowhere directly said that they consider the Person of Holy Spirit as created thing, but they asserted this about His grace only, which also is named the Holy Spirit. And in the prayer, we read: “Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art in all places and fillest all things”, – that is by Thy essence, remaining not available for participating of creatures, – “Come and dwell in us”, – that is by Thy Grace inseparable from the Person, the grace, which thus is the Holy Spirit Himself. The Apostle, named the Theologian, also writes the follows: God is Love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God dwelleth in him (1 Jn. 4, 16), – but love is the energy of God, according of which He is named, and which action in man detects dwelling in him of God. The Lord does also truthfully promise: I will manifest Myself to him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him (Jn. 14, 21, 23), – according the prophecy: I will dwell in them and walk in them
41

The letter to L. Z. The first edition: “Revnitel”, March of 1915 (Voronezh, 1916), p. 23–38; reprinted: Religious and philosophic magazine “Nachala” no. 1–4. “Imyaslavie”. Issue I (М. 1996), p. 183–196. 42 Triada III, 1, 8. 43 Triada III, 1, 40. 44 St. Gennady the Scholary. To kyr John, who did ask about the expression of blessed Theodor Grapt, about which empty-minded akindinists shout, and also about that, what they invented about the Holy Spirit // Georges Scholarios. Oeuvres compiètes, t. III, Paris, 1930, p. 225–226. 45 St. Mark of Ephesus. The encyclical // Archimandrite Amvrosy (Pogodin). “St. Mark of Ephesus and the Florence Union”. 23

(2 Cor. 6, 16). Therefore, we name Saints as temples of God, temples of the Holy Spirit, instead of temples of the Holy Spirit’s grace only. And without identifying the energies of God as God, it is impossible in any way to speak about God's dwelling in people, it is impossible also to speak about the Theophany, it is impossible to say that God in any way reveals Himself to His creatures, because to the essence of God all these expressions never can be applied. We already have quoted the words of St. Makary about first-created Adam that the Word of God – the Son of God – was all for him. And about revival of the man in the church Sacraments, Nicolas Kavasila writes in a similar way: “For the people needing, there is not any thing that He would not be for the Saints; for He is … the light for them, and also breath, and He forms for them an eye by Himself, by Himself enlightens them and by Himself grants to see Him”46. – But it is absolutely impossible to see the essence of God, so it is clear that here the Divine energies are named as God. St. Seraphim of Sarov also, after the ancient Fathers, teaches that the overall aim of the Christian life is the obtaining of the Holy Spirit: “of the Lord Holy Spirit”, – he said, not separating actions from the Acting Person. St. John of Kronstadt, whose words we have already cited, writes in his turn that the pronounced Names of God bring from above into a soul God in three Persons, – and not only “impersonal” grace or “deity”, which is not God. Really, on the Tabor, contrary to the declaration of the Synod Epistle, God appeared – the transfigured Son, the enlightening Holy Spirit and the speaking Father. And when the Apostles, seeing and hearing God, by action of the Holy Spirit had explained to us the true words of the Self-Truth, we – also really and not subjectively – in their God-inspired words got in touch with God in the Trinity, received the true faith and obtained an opportunity in Church, which is a pillar and assertion of the Truth, to grow spiritually through action of this Truth, instead of remaining with “abstract concepts” in a darkness of error. However, let us return again unto the Archbishop Nikon's opinion (which other onomatoclasts follow too) that the energies of God are not God, because “according to such a concept about God, where is the person, as the most significant attribute of such a concept?” If the naming of the Divine energies as “God” is rejected, because these energies are neither the Personality, nor the Person or the Persons of God, it is necessary to notice that God's essence, which onomatoclasts nevertheless name as “God”, also is not at all the Person. Thus, the doctrine of onomatoclasts includes the mixing up of the Persons and the Essence of God. St. Gregory Palamas writes about the difference and the inseparability of energies and the essence of God: “Neither not-created grace, nor eternal glory, nor life and so forth, are by themselves the supernatural God's essence. Thus, God transcends all this as the Reason. We name Him the life, the good One and so on, only according to the detecting energies and powers of His super essence, since according to Basil the Great, the evidence of any essence is the energy peculiar to its nature, which leads mind up to that nature. All the Holy Fathers together testify that for the not-created Trinity it is impossible to find a name being His nature, but all His names are names of His energies. For even “Deity” expresses the energy… the name “essence” itself is a designation of one of mentioned powers in God… while talking with Moses, God has not said “I am the essence”, but “I am That I am”, because you see that not from the essence is He That is, but from Him That is, the essence is: That is, He has collected in Himself all the existence… However, the similar truths do not at all prevent us to worship to One God and One Deity, as do not prevent to consider the sun and its light as one, if we shall name as “sun” its beams too47. Thus, though God, as the super-nominal and not available for participating essence, “by infinite infinity” (according the St. Maximus the Confessor’s expression) transcends His energies, it does not prevent for naming equally both God’s essence and the energies as God. Otherwise, we would have no possibility to name God truly in any way and with any name, but all such attempts would be undoubtedly false. It is amazing that onomatoclasts do not think about this inevitable conclusion, though they frequently speak about the ineffability of the Divine essence to confirm the idea that the Name of God, as all His
46 47

Nicolas Kavasila, Archbishop of Thessalonica. The Seven Homilies about Life in Christ. М., 1874, p. 6. Triada III, part 2, chapter 7, 10, 11, 12. 24

energies, is not God. More precisely, they do not at all worry about the fact that by saying: “God is love”, – Apostle, according to their conception, identifies God as the thing that is not God at all; they do not worry that by saying in prayers: “Lord Jesus Christ”, “All-Holy Trinity”, “Father and Son and Holy Ghost”, “Heavenly King” and so on, – we, in their opinion, do not at all call God Himself, because we certainly do not name His ineffable essence, which only, according to their opinion, is God. In addition, as the word “God” is also the name, consequently, we do, according to the conception of onomatoclasts, incorrectly entitle God as “God”. However, in this case we could not have the vaguest notion concerning either what it could be a subject of discussion or what sense might be in any confession of faith. In fact, we say not only that God possesses properties and actions of the power, all-knowing, goodness, Divinity, truth, righteousness and so on, but also that God Himself is the Truth, Love, Goodness, Life, Deity. We identify God not only as the Reason and the Source of Light, but also as the true Light, enlightening every man. However, if energies of God were not God, such names could have only not literal sense; then in strict sense of the word, only the energy should be named as light, and God should be deprived of this name. However, the names “Light”, “Truth”, “Love”, “Peace”, “Benevolence”, “Knowledge” are used both as the names of the energies, and as the names of the Hypostases of God. It also shows that God's energies are God – not as some separate essences, but as the actions and properties inseparable from the simple and indivisible Essence of God and from His Persons. It is also amazing that both former and present onomatoclasts try to find any connection between onomatodoxia and some Gnostic, magic or occult doctrines, the specific character of which consists in belief in some impersonal “energies” (“forces” or “fields”) and in mysterious nature and effectiveness of some mysterious names. In this connection, Archbishop Nikon even cites an immense quotation from an ancient Jewish writing, full of horrible blasphemy against the Lord Jesus Christ (it is in itself rather strange for the theological work especially devoted to absolutely other question). However, such accusations against Name-worshippers are based, as we have seen, on Barlaamistic separating the energies, i.e. actions and properties of God, from God Himself. Owing to this separating, the energies become impersonal and mechanical actions, similar to those “energies”, which occultists believe in. While occultists are fully content with these “energies”, onomatoclasts assert themselves really believing, besides some impersonal “divine” energies, in Personal God too. However, this declaration is based on nothing, for if even such a “god”, who is only essence with no actions, could exist, nobody would be able to know him in any way, even in principle, and nobody would be able in any way to enter into contact or intercourse with him. In this case, the position of Gnostics and other occultists is more consecutive, than the position of onomatoclasts, because Gnostics do not at all consider such a “god”, which all the same cannot have any relation to our life. And if God for onomatoclasts is the absolutely not-available-for-participating, incomprehensible and beyond-names essence only, what their faith in God may mean, except of adherence of heart to some mind representations or abstract ideas, which only, according to their own doctrine, are accessible for man? So, the Epistle of the Russian Synod has proved that its members do not believe that God revealed Himself on the Tabor, do not believe that the Scripture and all God-revealed words are the words of God, do not believe that God's glory and all the Divine energies are God, and also do not believe in the possibility of true knowledge of God. Therefore, in this situation it is no wonder that they do not also believe in Divinity of the Name of God. The saving force and effectiveness of the Name of God The evil doctrines of the Synod Epistle do not come to an end here. The Epistle gives an interpretation to the words of the Saint Father John of Kronstadt: “the Name of God is God Himself”, declaring that Fr. John spoke only “about a phenomenon peculiar to our consciousness that we in praying, in uttering the Name of God in heart, particularly in the Jesus prayer, do not separate in our consciousness Him from the uttered Name… But it is only in praying, in our heart, and it depends on limitedness of our consciousness only, on our restrictedness, and it is not at all because the Name of God would be also beyond our consciousness identical to God, would be the Deity”.
25

Therefore, in opinion of the Russian Synod, the identification of the Name of God with named and called God Himself has subjective character only, and moreover, it relates only to restrictedness of our thinking. From here, the appropriate doctrine on praying also follows, which is based on mere subjective associating in our consciousness of a word completely alien to God with God Himself. We are going to consider below more in detail, to what extent such a doctrine comes into collision both with the Orthodox faith and the Orthodox tradition of asceticism, and now let us pay attention to the very words of Saint Fr. John. “The Name of God is God Himself. Therefore, it is spoken: Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.” –Nevertheless, to call the Name of God in vain is the same thing as to call it without associating it in our consciousness with God. Thus, God forbids this, as Fr. John teaches, just because His Name is God Himself. However, according to the doctrine of the Synod Epistle, beyond our consciousness the Name of God is not God, therefore in such calling there would be nothing bad (though also nothing good too). And if vain calling of the Name of God is quite neutral thing in essence, forbidding of it in one of the ten main Commandments is also beyond reason and should not be understood, unless in subjective, educative and instructive sense. Thus, on this question, the opinion of the Synod members and one of St. John of Kronstadt are completely opposite to each other. Further, the Epistle tries to find a justification to this doctrine in the other expression of Fr. John of Kronstadt, namely: “And that a heart of little faith would not think that the cross or the name of Christ operate by themselves, the same cross and the name of Christ would not work a miracle, if I do not see either by eyes of heart or by faith Christ the Lord and do not believe by heart in all that He has made for the sake of our salvation”48. According to the interpretation given in the Epistle, the saving force is not inherent in the Cross, as well as in the Name of God, but only by our consciousness, by our faith this force is attached to both of them. However in this case it remains without explanation, why it is attached just to the Cross or to the Name of God uttered by us, if they both have no actual relation to God. In reality, by calling of the Name of God and by the sign of the Cross the Divine grace and consecrating force are attached to different objects, which thus become devoted to God. However, what a person has authority to devote to God His God-revealed Name or the sign of the Cross? Really, there is no necessity of this: both the Name of God and the sign of the Cross do not need this. It is obvious that since the truth about God is God, and since the uttered or written Name of God represents this truth in the clearest way, and in the same way the sign of the Cross means the same truth, consequently the saving force of God always is inherent in both of them, as also in any icon and generally in any holy thing. It is so quite objectively, independently even from our faith and from our heart understanding. However, the effect made upon us by the grace depends on our faith. More precisely, it depends on the good and righteous will of God, confirming our weakness, including the weakness of faith, when we search for salvation in Him, and also punishing us, when we resort to His holy things impudently and falsely. Not every one that saith unto Me: Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, – says the Lord: and this is because if somebody will call the Name of Lord in vain, he will carry especial punishment as impudently trampling the holy things, and not because the calling of this Name in itself, without our faith, signifies nothing at all, as the Epistle declares it. The Epistle further says that if the Name of God were Divine in itself, events described in the Acts of the Apostles would be not understood, when certain Jewish exorcists began to call over people possessed by demons the Name of the Lord Jesus, Whom Paul preacheth, – to that the demon answered: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?” – And after this, they were beaten by the man possessed by demons. Nevertheless it is obvious that just here it appeared the Divine Name force punishing and at the same time teaching. All the people that had heard all this understood it exactly in this way, as it is narrated further in the Acts: This was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified (Acts. 19, 13-17).
48

Underlined in the text of the Epistle. 26

The commentary by Theophilakt: “They did not want to believe, but wished to expel demons by the name of Jesus... Therefore, a little later they have paid for their imprudence... This circumstance is deserving of amazement, how the demon did not support the deceit of these exorcists, but unmasked them and discovered their deceit. It seems that he was very angry, just as somebody, oppressed in extreme danger by some piteous and insignificant creature, wants to pour out all his anger on this creature”. – The great danger to the demon was caused by the called Name, but unworthiness of the calling persons made them piteous and defenceless; so the demon poured out unto them his fury; and God suffered this for the sake of praising the Name of Lord Jesus. St. John of Kronstadt, saying that the cross or the name of Christ does not work a miracle, when we resort to them without faith, obviously means the saving miracles desirable for us, in which God reveals Himself. In a case of an impertinent, not according to faith, touching to a holy thing, we really may not expect a merciful action of God, but we may expect His anger, judgment and punishment – temporary or even eternal. It will be really the action of God, through which His presence at a holy thing is detected for unworthy people and those of little faith. The of expression Fr. John cited in the Epistle warns those very persons, which, following the onomatoclasm, consider the Name of God as separate from God, while hope nevertheless to receive something through calling of this Name. Their faith is false, and the calling based on it is a vain conjuring. It is impossible to apply this warning of St. Fr. John to true worshippers of the Name of God, as they state just that the Name of God is God Himself, i.e. He and nobody else, Who presents in the image of the Cross and in the uttered Name (according to its external aspect). They declare also that without believing in this by all heart, it is impossible to hope for receiving good gifts of God through calling His Name. Moreover, you see that the Epistle, following the well known words of the Scripture and of the Holy Fathers, declares that the Name of God is “holy, worthy of worship and desirable”; besides this, the onomatoclasts, not daring to refuse obviously the patristic doctrine, did assert also that the Name of God “is holy in itself”, – that is possible to say about God only. Thus, the onomatoclasts suppose that the Name of God is another god of some kind, which we should attach in our consciousness to the One True God, though this independent essence objectively has no relation to Him. Thus, according the Synod’s idea, it is our faith that accomplishes this really magic identification. However, what is this faith? The Epistle explains this as follows: “The name of God works miracles only under the condition of faith, in other words, when the man, uttering it, waits for a miracle not from a pronunciation, but calls the Lord, Which this name denotes, and the Lord according to the faith of this man works a miracle”. – It would be possible to understand these words, which contradict the above expressions of the Synod, in orthodox sense: that the source of miracles consists not in uttered sounds of the Name, but in the Lord, Which constantly is present together with it, which everyone calling the Lord should believe in. Hoewever, in this case it is necessary to specify about the expression “to call the Lord”, that it means the same as to utter His Name, orally or mentally, and that by such a pronunciation quite objectively the man becomes standing before God, independently even from his intention or faith. The very touch to the Deity, and not in themselves the sounds of His Name, is a source of saving miracles for the truly believers. But the Epistle declares: “The name of God, when it is called in prayers with faith, can also work miracles, but not by itself, not owing to any Divine force as though for ever enclosed in it or attached to it, which would already act mechanically, – but in this way, that the Lord, seeing our faith (Mt. 9, 2), and owing to His not false promise, sends the grace and it works a miracle”. These words contain the blasphemous doctrine about the grace of God, which as if while presenting somewhere objectively, should act mechanically, as an inanimate and material energy. Here we again see a similarity to the doctrine and practice of occultists and Gnostics, who believe that if we will somehow get certain mysterious “energy”, it should act inevitably how we want. Besides this, in the beginning of the Epistle it was written that “…to suppose (according to Fr. Bulatovich) that “the grace of God is inherent in the sounds and characters of the Name of God” (page 188) or (that is the same thing in essence) that God is inseparably inherent in His Name, means eventually to put God in some dependence on the man, and even more: it means to recognize Him as though being directly at
27

disposal of the man. It is enough for a man (even without faith, even unconsciously) to call the Name of God, and God as though is forced to be with this man and to work things peculiar to Him”. According to this opinion the reality of the grace of God being present at icons and at any holy thing should be inevitably rejected, for it would occur out that if a man has, for example, an icon, God already “is at disposal” of him. However, even worse is that, according to the Synod’s opinion, even the real presence of God in the Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ should be rejected. It is generally known that it is possible to take them unworthy; and more than that, different blasphemies were sometimes abused with the Holy Sacrament depending outwardly on human actions. Opening Himself for the people salvation, God thus gives them also an opportunity to outrage Him – either through reviling His Name, or through trampling the icons, or through defiling the churches, or through mockery at the Body and Blood of Christ. But God is not mocked: and those, who did trample by their feet the written Name of God or had the courage to make the confession of faith under the title “The Act about the Name “Jesus” is unworthy of worship” (!), did harm only their own souls 49. It is also necessary to notice that the very possibility to call the Name of God is not at all completely dependent on the man, and if somebody calls this Name, we can see here either God’s suffering (if the calling is blasphemous) or God’s benevolence. Therefore, St. John the Ladderer writes that when it was possible for us to pray even only orally, we should thank God for it, for many prople are deprived even of such an opportunity. Really, being called even unworthily, God always does “peculiar to Him” – that is, to the Most Good and Almighty One, forced by nobody, except for His Own mercy, – though the Epistle states quite unambiguously that a thing peculiar for God is to act mechanically. St. Father John of Kronstadt writes the follows: “As the Lord is the simplest Essence, the simplest Spirit, He is in one word, in one idea – All wholly, and at the same time – everywhere, in all the creation. Therefore, do call only the Name of the Lord, – and you will call the Lord, the Saviour of the believers, and so you will be saved… The omnipresence of God is spatial and mental, i.e. God is present everywhere in spatial aspect and everywhere in mental aspect”50. – However monk Chrysanthus, whom the Synod Epistle praises for the right doctrine, declares that “in all that exists, God is present not by His essence”51, – i.e. the essence of God is so restricted that He can be present only outside the creation! Hieroschemamonk Anthony Bulatovich writes about this: “Onomatoclasts mix up two concepts: concerning the presence of God’s essence in the creation and concerning the possibility of participating to Him for the creation. The essence of God is not accessible for participating of the creation, but it is nevertheless anywhere and everywhere, and first, certainly, at His Name”52. However, it is especially important that God is not only present by His essence at the Name of God (in its external aspect), as well as everywhere in the world, but also truly opens Himself, and in this action, by some mysterious and incomprehensible way, becomes accessible for our mind. The uttering of the Name of God by reasonable creature – that is by the man – is a real touch to God, and through such a touch, God does not prove to be in dependence on a man or at disposal of him, but on the contrary, a man puts himself in a especial dependence on the Divine judgement, to which he resorted more or less consciously. In that case, why St. Father John of Kronstadt says: “The great names [of God] … called with live faith of heart and with reverence, or imaged in soul, are God, and sends unto the soul God in three Persons”? 53 – It is clear that here question is not only about the real contact to God at His holiest Name, but that the Lord Himself would please to dwell in the human soul, to enlighten her, to clear and to make her the dwelling of the Holy Trinity. Thus, without the living faith of heart, the faith in the Name of God, i.e. in all things God has revealed about Himself, it is certainly impossible.

49 50

Such a document was composed by the onomatoclasts of the Athos Panteleimon Monastery on August 20th, 1912. “My life in Christ”, issue 5, “About prayer”, 1893, p. 30, 79. 51 The “Russky Inok” magazine, no. 19, 1912. 52 “The Apologia”, part II. 53 “My life in Christ”, p. 46–47. 28

The Synod Epistle states that Fr. Hilarion “at first says that the Name of God for praying person is not directly “God”, but only “as though God””. But it is obvious that here Fr. Hilarion speaks about the same thing as Saint John of Kronstadt does, i.e. that with living faith, a man perceives the Name of God not according to its external restrictedness, but as though he sees and possesses in it the Invisible and Unbounded One. This very kind of true and not subjectively dreaming perception may be achieved through prayer, about which we say more in detail below, after quoting here the words of elder Hilarion. “First, I will say about the name of God that it is always holy in itself, glorious and saving; and for us it operates according to our regard to it; and if the believer calls the name of God without attention and reverence, however he does this not at all because of neglecting of the great and terrible Name of God, but only because of weakness and infirmity of mind; it is desirable for him in proper way – with feelings of reverence, humility, repentance and in a pure thought – offer up his praying to the Lord God through His most holy Name, but he has no forces, because of sinfulness innate for us and much more because he is untrained in this great work: is it possible to think that calling of the Name of God even in such case will be not saving for him, while it is open to us by God for this very purpose that we would be cured, by the almighty force inherent in it, from all illnesses – of the soul and of the body, and also from the sinful corruption! It is another case, if a man, having a contemptuous treating to the Name of God, according to his own will, utters it not reverently, blasphemously, with mocking, then the Name of God for him is a consuming fire (Heb. 12, 29). In the history of Christianity, we see many cases of the saving action of the name of God, not only when Pagans called it (the name of God), but even only said it, so for example: “Saint Martyrs Epiktet and Aktion, being beaten, said: “O Lord Jesus, our Teacher, the will of Thine be in us”. And also: “The Christians we are, the will of our God be in us”. One from tormenting servants, named Bishlanty, having heard the words of those Saints, which they in suffering ceaselessly were saying, and thinking that there was a certain magic force in them, which takes away illness of a body at torments, began to hold these words in his mind and to repeat them, day and night. Then, after three days he began among the people to call unceasingly, saying this: “The Christian I am, the will of our God be in us”. And he hurried in a prison to the Saints, and learnt from them the holy faith, and after a little days, he achieved the holy Christening together with all his house” (Menologion, the 7-th of July). Similar to this there are a lot of cases in Menologion, translated from Greek by St. Dimitry of Rostov. What a wonderful thing! The man neither had a faith in the Lord Jesus, nor any knowledge about Him, and he called (it would be better to say, that he said) these names not in praying spirit, but only with mercenary purpose to receive a magic force. However, uttering unconsciously these holy Divine names, he filled with fragrance through them and became the true Christian. …And you see – how it would be unreasonably and inconsistently with the order of things to impute the uselessness to the calling of the most holy Name of God for the man maybe only entering the struggle of the internal self-education and spiritual approaching to God, the Father of spirits. Therefore, the calling of the Name of God, even if it were completely inappropriate to its boundless greatness, by no means could be sinful, and it is not possible in any way to say about it as about useless, and so to discourage the zealots from their good intention. After all it would be a miracle, – being untrained in some work, to be at once in it the skilled worker. It does not take place even in common everyday things, and especially it is impossible in such a sublime and innermost working as approaching to God, in pure praying to Him. …St. Simeon the Archbishop of Salonika says: “Always do they force themselves to practise this prayer and to call the Lord incessantly, even during plundering of thoughts and capturing of mind, and owing to this plunder do not they allow themselves not to care about it (i.e. about the Jesus prayer), but in every possible way do they try again to come back to it and to rejoice in this returning” (Philokalia in Russian, v. 5, chapter 4). Thus, the name of God, according to the spirit of the Holy Fathers and according to our understanding, will be saving even for those, who utter it without attention and reverence, if only they utter it in humility, in penitential feeling, in consciousness of the spiritual poverty and weakness of
29

mind affected by distraction and dissipation of thoughts. Here, the Name of God really is heavenly medicine. On the contrary, we see that the neglectful and disrespectful attitude in general to every holy thing of God was punished with death, as it was in the Old Testament, when the Jewish priest Uzzah wanted to support the Ark of the Covenant, falling from a chariot, and he was instantly smitten with death for the careless touching (2 Sam. 6, 6-7). Recollecting that event, St. Andrew of Crete teaches in the Great canon, which is read during the Great Lent: “do esteem the Divine things with honour”. It is possible to apply the same idea also to the utterance of the Name of God – the Name Jesus – it is terrible according to the presence of God, as the Scripture tells us about this. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish strictly the purpose and intention, with which the Name of God is called, to see when it is saving for us and when not. The ancient commandment says also concerning this: Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain. Because it guilty and incurs the anger of God”54. The Orthodox doctrine about praying All nations compassed me about: and in the Name of the Lord I withstood them. They compassed me about: yea, they compassed me about: and in the Name of the Lord I withstood them. They compassed me about like bees round a honeycomb, and inflamed as the fire of thorns: and in the Name of the Lord I withstood them. (Ps. 117, 10-12) All the Patristic doctrine about praying tells that though man shall try to call the Name of God with attention, however in fact upright attention together with the constant due consciousness in praying is a high gift completely inaccessible for novices. It was told: He granteth the prayer to him that prayeth, – i.e., as St. John the Ladderer explains, the Lord grantes a person, which prays not purely, but with zeal, in due time to pray purely. The constant praying work forms in the person a skill, which very often operates sooner, than the consciousness of this man would have time to wish to call God. There is nothing amazing in this, because this skill is acquired with patience, carefulness, persistence, struggle against the desperation, as it was said as follows: I suffer Thy Name, for it is good, or this also: I did suffer patiently the Lord, and He inclined unto me. Even a perfect novice, while practising prayer, notices more than once, how the unconscious uttering of the Name of God suddenly and powerfully attracts mind and heart, giving the unexpected help against the heaviness of forgetfulness. This thing completely contradicts the Synod Epistle that considers the unconscious calling of the Name of God as completely useless one. Let us also examine what is the special virtue of the Jesus prayer practice. The entire patrisic doctrine on this question does testify that the force of this prayer consists in the Name of God and Man, Lord Jesus Christ. The first part of this prayer, that is the very Name, is usually named the brief Gospel, as we have already said concerning the Gospel and the entire Scripture and Tradition to be a certain interpretation of the Name of God and evidence about it. The holy Fathers recommend the constant calling of the same Name with the same words as a basic prayer working, and reading of lengthy prayers and orders – only as secondary one. However if, according to the Synod Epistle, the Name of God ware created, and even had no Divine force, constantly inherent in it, what sense could be in the constant calling of it? How also could it be more important than the reading of something useful and instructive? It is clear that here we see collision of two completely different doctrines about praying: rationalistic and subjective – in the Epistle, mysterious and realistic – in the doctrine of the Fathers. St. Kallistos Xanthopoulos quotes the words of St. Diadoch: “Our mind, when through remembrance of God we shut for it all ways out, needs for some obligatory work given to it, for satisfying of its perpetual
54

The letter to L.Z. Italicised by Fr. Hilarion. 30

mobility. It is necessary to give to it only the holy Name of the Lord Jesus, which will satisfy completely its thirst for achieving of the supposed purpose”55. Thus, all the holy Fathers instruct to enclose the thoughts without exit in the words of a prayer, and first of all in the Name of God. The Epistle quite awkwardly explains this necessity: “If we, so speaking, enclose God in His Name uttered by us orally or only mentally in heart, we shall be free from danger to give to God, at calling Him, any sensual image”. Nevertheless, if the Name were created, how might enclosing the attention in it be better than imagining a sensual image? As well as images, the created words in the same way confine a person in the sphere of subjectivity, lead him away from God and bring into a state of deceit, which would be the deeper, the more efforts a praying person applies. Let us remark that the holy Fathers do not forbid a prayer offered before an icon, because an image painted at the icon is quite objectively connected with the Represented Person, to Which the praying person addresses. However, representation of an image in mind is forbidden because of subjectivity of such a doing, which therefore inevitably leads to self-deceit. The calling of God-revealed Name of God is a basis of praying, just because this Name is not anything created and connected with God only subjectively; it remains true and Divine always, when we repeat it orally or mentally. Therefore, the brief prayer by the Name of the Lord allows the man to extract himself constantly, each minute of his life, from the sphere of dreams, through real contact with the Absolute Truth that is with God. However, if we speak about the truth in rationalistic way, as it is accepted nowadays, the conclusion will inevitably follow that it is much more useful to read various thoughtful books and to contemplate about the things we read. Nevertheless, our darkened mind constantly mixes up the Divine Truth with its own limited concepts. Such mixing is already a lie about God, and the assiduous practice of such thoughts instead of praying is the same thing as the establishing in the mind of an idol, a made up graven image even more dangerous than rough statues of a heathen antiquity. Unfortunately, even at reading of God-inspired prayers, full of various true and high sayings, our mind according to its infirmity, being carried away by this variety, mixes them up with its own concepts and imperceptibly becomes conceited. That is why, though the reading of the Scripture and praying orders is necessary for us, the calling of the Name of God in a brief prayer, so little nutritious for self-conceit, and so inexhaustible for mind and heart, is the firmest support of the Christian life. We do not intend here to retell all the Patristic doctrine on praying, but restrict ourselves within the things most necessary for the case in point. Let us also remark that many of onomatoclasts taught as if the calling of the Name of God is necessary only in the beginning of praying to address God in some way, and so, they advised further to pray without any Name directly to the Essence of God. They asserted also that a prayer without words is higher than a prayer with words. Such a doctrine shows a direct path to deception, because it leads into losing of any connection with true reality that is with God. Really, some greatest Saints through calling of the Name of God in prayer achieved such a height and such a unity with God, that they were exalted above the speaking of something by word of mouth or even of mind, i.e. above the saying in a manner accessible for all of us. But we must not think that they prayed directly to the Essence of God; and their prayer was not also dumb, because such an ascension of mind was a fruit of their taking root in the beyond-names Name, i.e. the Son and the Word of God, the Source of any word of the truth. It is a selfdeception to believe, that it is possible besides called Names and God-revealed words to get up on such a height; and an attempt to pray to the Essence of God without names and words cannot result to nothing else, except for deception. Archbishop Nikon writes the follows: “Though really, when a reverent mind turns to God, calling the most holy name of Him, the Lord in the same instant hears a praying person … a certain Divine force named the grace emerges. It appears not only because the man by mind or mouth has uttered the name of God, but also because he has uttered it with due reverence and belief, turning his heart also to God (to the Essence of

55

Fhilokalia, v. 5, p. 399. 31

God), as a flower turns to the sun. Neither from sounds of the name, nor from the abstract idea, nor from the mind-represented name, but from God a beam of grace is poured upon him”. Here it is declared as if the grace, throughout the calling of the names of God, is poured upon a praying person because the man turns his heart to the Essence of God, “as a flower to the sun”. However, you see that a flower (it is really a suitable image!) turns to the sun just because solar beams fall upon it, and except for this, a flower would not know where to turn. For a flower, the sun is not known, but the beams, inseparable from their source, are known and appreciable. Especially the Essence of God is absolutely unknown to the man and he cannot turn his heart directly to it in any way, unless he would learn God by means of His names – the true beams of the Sun of the Truth. How before and besides the calling of the names of God, can the man turn his heart to the incomprehensible Essence? Whence, in a darkness of ignorance, will he get lifegiving beams of the unfading Sun, necessary for this purpose? It may be only in the true names of God, the real Sun of the Truth shines for him, in them his cold heart is warmed up and in them, it perceives the incomprehensible God. The faith in the Name of Jesus Christ It is in particular necessary to say about the name “Jesus”, which onomatoclasts declared to be “not worthy of worship”. They asserted that the name “Jesus” refers only to the human nature of Christ and, so to say, is the name smaller than every name56. Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) wrote: “The name “Jesus” is not God, because Joshua the son of Nan and Joshua the Son of Sirach and the high-priest Jeshua the Son of Jehozedek were also named Jesus. Are they really Gods too?!”57 The idea that the Lord may possess own particular personal names according separately to the Deity and to the human nature, is completely Nestorian one, because the particular name means also the particular person. On the contrary, owing to the uniqueness of the Person and to the mutual communication of the natures in Christ, none of His names may be simply human. Thus, if He is named the Infant, this is the Eternal Infant, and if the Crucified Person, this is the Crucified God, though infancy and crucifixion are peculiar to the human nature, and not to the Divine one. The name of Jesus Christ truly names the Incarnate God, the Saviour of the world. Therefore, disparaging of this name as contrasted to other Divine names is nothing else but the rejection of the truth about the Incarnation of God, rejection of the doctrine about the unity of the natures in Christ and about the unity the of Three Persons of the Holy Trinity according to the essence, – in other words, rejection of the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. The name “Jesus”, really, did not name God until His Incarnation. However, from this it follows not that this Name is less than other names of God, but on the contrary, that it is more than all the names earlier revealed to men, because it comprise the great mystery of godliness – the mystery of the mankind saving. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name, which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2, 9-11). It means that the human nature, accepted by Christ, in His Person has got the Name above every name, the Name, at which every knee bowed of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, having learnt Jesus Christ, the true Lord, in Whom was truly praised the Heavenly Father. Nevertheless, according to the doctrine of onomatoclasts, it means that to the Incarnate Son of God a simple human name was given – and in this case, what is the magnitude of this gift? The Lord hath reigned, clothed in majesty, i.e. He has clothed Himself in the human nature, which He has expiated, illuminated and glorified. Not the human nature in itself, with its own human name, was the majesty beautifying the Deity, but it has shone up with the great glory due to the union with God, when through voluntary humility and death, the Son of God Jesus Christ showed Himself as the true Saviour of the humankind. However, let us turn our attention to the sense of the Name “Jesus”. It means “God the Saviour”, and even from this it is clear that it is the name of God saving the humankind through His Incarnation, death and
56 57

Monk Chrysanthus, The review of the book of Fr. Hilarion “On the mounts of Caucasus”. See “Russky Inok”, no. 4, 5, 6. See “Russky Inok”, no. 10. 32

Resurrection. However, why some other people also were named by the same name? – Obviously, it was not in the own sense of this word, but because they were prototypes of true Jesus, Which should to come at the end of the times. About this, St. John Chrysostom writes the following: “The Name Jesus is not Greek, but Jewish; in Greek language it means: the Saviour. Thus, He is named the Saviour, because He has saved His people... As extraordinary things had to happen, the images of the very names preceded... Therefore, the successor of Moses, entered the people in the Promised Land, was named Jesus. That was the image, and this is the truth: that person has entered in the Promised Land, and this One leads onto the sky, to the heavenly goods... She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins. Here the Angel shows that the Person, Which is to be born, is the Son of God: for except for the Divine One, nobody else can forgive the sins”58. Thus, the name of Jesus the son of Nan was the image pointing to the name of true Jesus – Christ, the Son of God. Let us remark that many other human names represent indications not so much of the people themselves, as of God or of the perfect properties of God. It is no wonder indeed, because all the virtue of the man consists in God. The Apostle writes about Melchizedek the king of Salem that his name signifies “king of righteousness” and “king of peace” – just because Melchizedek was a living prototype of Christ, the true King of righteousness and peace. At the same time, we know also about the first Archangels that they are namesakes to the properties or operations of God: Gabriel – the force of God, Uriel – the Divine flame and so on. And the name Michael directly means “Who is as God”, which thing is spoken not about the person bearing this name, as though he would be God, but on the contrary, about the Only True God, to Which there is no a similar one, and Whom the person glorifies, carrying this name. In the same way, the name Gabriel, according to an interpretation quoted in Menologion, means also “Man and God” and tells about God’s Incarnation, concerning which thing the bearer of good tidings was the Archangel called by this name. Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) in his “Apologia” quotes the following citation from the Orthodox Catechesis, printed in Moscow in the times of Tsar Mikhail Theodorovich (reprinted in 1874; sheet 4): ““Jesus” is interpreted as the Saviour, or the Redeemer, that is the Rescuer, as He has saved us from our sins, and from all the sinful deeds, and from impurity and devil tormenting, and death, and eternal suffering, and hell under the earth He has saved us. Question: And why those, which before the Christmas, in the Old Testament, three men were named as Jesus (“Joshua”),iv whom the Scripture says about: Joshua the son of Nun, Joshua the son of Sirach, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak; were they also the saviours? Answer: This was because they are image and similarity of true Jesus, our Lord Jesus Christ… so, these three names assimilate to the Name of Jesus – the Saviour, instead of saviours, as “Jesus” is interpreted “God will save”, for through this even Name, they gave enough to know that it was possible for nobody of them to rescue, but for the Only God Himself, Which accepted the human flesh, and became true God the Saviour for the mankind. This is the Name “Jesus”, which every knee should worship to and bow at, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth… through that Divine Name we have to get the deliverance and to overcome all the opposite enemies”. Thus, not the human name was given to God after His Incarnation, but on the contrary, the people awarded to this, did use the Name of Embodied God, according to the gift of grace, and not in its own sense, but prototypically. Archbishop Anthony asks if they really are gods. – Yes, certainly, gods also – not according to the nature, but according to the grace – the people hearing the word of God are named. Should we for that reason consider also the Name “God” as human? It is obvious that “God”, “the Lord”, “Christ”, “Jesus” are the Divine Names. When they are used not in their own sense, it occurs because of some connection to the very true and One God and the Lord Jesus Christ. So, God is God of gods and the Lord of lords; and the false pagan gods are those that are not the thing they are named: “All of them are not gods, but demons, i.e. malicious and dirty spirits, which were stealing and appropriating the glory of God”, – writes St. Cyril59.
58 59

The interpretation on the Gospel according to Mathew. The Interpretation on Ps. 95, 5 – Zigaben, v. II, p. 111, footnote 1. 33

One of the modern onomatoclasts writes as if the Saviour has received the Name “Jesus” only on the eighth day from His birth, when it was given to him by His reputed father Joseph (i.e. it was given by the ordinary man, as well as any human name), and consequently, up to this moment Christ had not the Name “Jesus”, therefore this name is not naturally peculiar to Him according the Deity, and even according to the human nature60. In support, he quotes the words from Menologion on the Christmas that God granted righteous Joseph the paternal duty of naming of the Embodied Son of God. However, “naming” does mean in this case “testifying, showing” and not at all “designating”. You see that it was clearly told: His Name was called Jesus, which was so named of the Angel before He was conceived in the womb (Lk. 2, 21), and even by the Angel it was only testified, and not at all designated to the Son of God. Therefore, the ministry of Joseph, certainly, consisted not in entitling the Son of God with the name, which He had not before this, but that after the Angel to announce this wonderful Name not to the most Holy Virgin only, but also to all the people. Certainly, for the people that not yet knew the mystery of the Incarnation of God, the name “Jesus” seemed to be a usual human name, as well as Joseph seemed to be the father of the Begotten One; the ministry of Joseph and the good tidings brought by him remained for them unclear, and as we can see, it remains unclear also for some people until now. More in detail about these mysteries of the Divine Providence, we can read in the same Menologion at the day of the Circumcising of the Lord: “It was given to the Divine Child at Circumcising the Name “Jesus”: which was brought from the Heaven by Archangel Gabriel at the time, when he had announced His conceiving to the Most Holy Virgin Mary, even before He conceived in a womb; that is, before the Virgin agreed to the words of the good-tidings bearer… This saving Name “Jesus” before all ages in the Trinity Council was prepared, written, and just hitherto was kept for our salvation, and nowadays, as invaluable pearls for redemption of the mankind, from heavenly treasuries was brought, through Joseph in revelation for all was given, and the unknown and secret Wisdom of God in this Name was shown. This Name as the sun has enlightened the world, as the Prophet said: unto you that fear my Name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise (Mal. 4, 2). As fragrant myrrh, it has filled with fragrance the whole world: Thy name, as it was told, is the poured myrrh, not in a vessel withheld, but “poured”… Because the power of the Name of Jesus being in the Pre-eternal Council as in a vessel hidden was unknown; and as that Name has poured from the heavens on the earth, instantly as myrrh, with fragrance of grace… has filled the world: and every tongue nowadays shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The Jesus Name’s force has revealed, for that wonderful Name “Jesus” has amazed the Angels, pleased the men, frighten the demons, … and from that even Name the hell trembles, things under the earth are shaken, … the light of godliness arises and enlighten every man coming in the world… Thus, we do kiss thee kindly, O sweetest Name of Jesus! We worship diligently to Thy holiest Name, O sweetest and most generous Jesus! We praise Thy greatest Name, O Jesus! … May we at Thy future age settle, and praise and exalt with the Angels Thy most esteemed and magnificent Name, O Jesus, forever. Amen!”61 The onomatoclasts, for confirming the doctrine, which disparages the name of Jesus, quoted the words of St. John Chrysostom: “As Jesus, [the Son of God] was called, that under the name “Jesus” to hide from the devil His Deity”. – But it does not at all mean that the name “Jesus” is a simple human name, by which true God was deceptively called. On the contrary, from here we can understand why before the Incarnation of Christ, some people were prototypically named as Jesus: these prototypes deceived the devil, but, unfortunately, as we can see, they have deceived also some orthodox theologians. However, it is inexcusable, for we live not at those times, about which it was told: For the Holy Ghost was yet not given, because of Jesus was not yet glorified (Jn. 7, 39), – i.e. when our rescue by the Embodied God had not yet been done. At that time the Name “Jesus” had not yet been glorified by the Cross and Resurrection; at that time, it had not yet become obvious that this Name is the Divine Truth instead of simple human naming. Thus, when the Son of man was glorified, it became possible to believe in His Name as one of the Son of God and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father.
60 61

Vladimir Moss. “The name of God and imyabozhnicheskaya heresy”, was published on the Internet site “Romanitas”. St. Dimitry of Rostov, The homily on the Circumcision of the Lord, Menologion, the 1 of January. 34

Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) writes: “At those hours of passions, Jesus, having taken upon Himself intolerable torments – voluntary, innocently, from the hand of the people, which He has done much good, – had really achieved the most immense glory and made His Name the most glorified, and had really justified the naming of Him – “Jesus”. Then it was really justified in actual fact that God is love (I Jn. 4, 8) and also that “Jesus” – is “God the Saviour”. Therefore on the request of the Son: “Glorify Thy Name”, – the Father answered: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again”. That is the Father as though speaks so: “I have already glorified My Son, Which is My Name, through a lot of miracles showing His Deity and glorifying My Name among men, but I will also show again the Deity of Jesus, resurrecting Him from dead, and having glorified My Son, I will glorify My Name””62. Therefore, now, when after prototypes the truth has come, we know that “Jesus” is the name of God. This Name is the Divine force, as any Name of God and any word of Him. It wrought and now works uncountable miracles and accomplishes all the Sacraments of the Church. Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) reminds that when the Apostles Peter and John came back after examination in Sanhedrim about the healing of the lame, the Christians lifted up with one accord their praying voice to the Lord, asking for two beneficial gifts: the boldness in the preaching and that by the Name of Thy holy Child Jesus, wonders and signs and healings may be done (Act 4, 29-30). Then, before the Christians had time for saying of the last word “Jesus”, the ground had been shaken as a sign that their prayer had been heard, and really, by the Name of Jesus there would be done the signs. St. Athanasy the Great in the interpretation on Ps. 88, 17 writes the follows: “In Thy Name shall they rejoice (that is in the Name of Jesus), – because by His Name and His power they (Apostles) did whatsoever wonderful things were wrought by them”. About the same thing the words of the Church song says this: “The Apostles made healings, O Master, by Thy Name. Naked and unprotected, in the nations Thou have sent Thy disciples: instead of the weapon bearing Thy Holy Name” (the Canon on June 30, songs 1 and 3). Not casually the prayer with the name of Lord Jesus Christ is named as “Jesus prayer” and the same Name “Jesus” is in diverse manners glorified in the Akathistos to Sweetest Jesus: “Jesus the most glorified, the deliverance of the forbears”, “Jesus, the beloved heat”, “Jesus, the precious jewel”, “Jesus, the hope of mine on Thy judgement” and so on. This Akathistos, a fruit of the epoch of the flourishing Hesychasm, i.e. noetic activity, became the integral part of the monastic rule of prayer; it includes also the following remarkable words: “All the angelic nature glorifies ceaselessly Thy most precious Name, O Jesus, on the heaven, calling: Holy, Holy, Holy”. Though they offer the Trisagion Hymn to the Holy Trinity, but as we can see, it glorifies the Name of Jesus, and it is owing to the unity of the Divine Essence, and owing to the truth of the Incarnation of God. From here, we can see especially evidently that the disparaging of the name “Jesus” in comparison with other names of God is completely opposite to the Tradition of the Church and antagonistic to the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. Commonly, we reverently unite the Name “Jesus” with other Divine names: Jesus Christ, Lord Jesus and so on, – testifying in this way our faith in this Name and showing that we do not at all consider it as human, i.e. we do not consider Lord Jesus as a simple man. However, in the Holy Gospel the Son of God mostly is named simply as Jesus, because all the narration of the Gospel is the testifying about the Deity of this Name. When some modern Protestants talk without ceremony about “Jesus”, as if about their friend, they show that this Name for them is a simple human name and so, they do not esteem with awe the Lord and God and our Saviour Jesus Christ as True God. It is a pity to realize that the most outstanding church figures, using traditionally the respectable Orthodox expressions, were found out to be so near to the most thoughtless sectarian beliefs of nowadays. Onomatoclasm and iconoclasm Archbishop Nikon writes: “The Name of God, being understood not as a simple sound, but as a certain reflection of the Essence of God, or more precisely, of His properties, is some, certainly imperfect, mental image of God, and a certain force of God is inherent in it, as though in a wonder-working icon”.
62

“The Apologia”, part II. 35

However, as we already saw, the Synod Epistle denies the presence of the Divine force constantly inherent in the Name of God. As the Epistle does not impose any interdiction on Archbishop Nikon, and consequently, does not see here any serious disagreement or conflict, we can assume that the authors of the Epistle deny the real presence of the Divine grace in icons too. It is clear that therefore Archbishop Nikon speaks not in general about icons, but only about a wonder-working icon (as though the Divine grace is not inherent in every true icon), and also adds the words “as though” and “a certain force of God”, showing that all these should not be understood too literally and definitely. For the same reason he writes: “The force of God appears in miracles from the holy icons, but when? When the Lord wants and considers this required for us, and when a praying person has faith”. – It is doubtless that God works when He wants, however it does not belittle the fact that the grace of God is always inherent in the holy icons, irrespective of anybody’s faith. However, Archbishop Nikon quotes by analogy this reason, confirming the idea that any Divine force is not inherent in the Name of God. Archbishop Nikon writes that God “according to His omnipresence, almightiness and kindness presents together with the entire creature”, so in such sense it would be possible to understand God’s presence also in the names of God, however then it “would be indistinguishable from His presence in the entire creature”. Than he adds: “It is necessary herewith to remember that all the creature is the real existence, while names are only symbols, signs of abstract mind representations, existing only subjectively in our consciousness as a necessary element of our thinking”. Likewise, he writes also about the sign of the Cross: “What is the sign of the Cross? It is a human operation by hand in air, drawing the Lord’s Cross. It is not a real subject, neither physical, nor spiritual. It is an external, in action, image of the idea, the thought, the doctrine about our saving through sufferings of our Lord. It is the same in a sphere of acting, as a sound, a word in a sphere of speaking. [The last opinion is completely correct.] What is the Lord’s Cross and the symbol, the sign of the Cross? Certainly, it is not God, but only the means, through which the grace of God shows Her Force. The Lord does not need in these means, but they are necessary for us, for our infirmity, because we live in conditions of the space and the time. And the enemy of God and of the people also sees the sign of the Cross, and remembers the victory over him of the Crucified on the Cross, and trembles and shakes, according to the expression of church songs, and runs from appearance of the cross, from even remembrance of the cross”. Archbishop Nikon here in his interpretation of the veneration of icons, extends the psychologism, about which we have already spoken, up to the extreme limit, for from human psychology he already passes to psychology of demons. It appears that the devil trembles, seeing the image of the Cross, not at all because the Divine force is really inherent in this image, being quite perceptible for the enemy of the mankind, but only because he remembers the victory over him of the Crucified Lord. Thus, the efficacy of the sign of the Cross is caused by the devil’s good memory and even, it is possible to say, by his faith, and the sign of the Cross by itself has no importance here. Furthermore, it is necessary to mark that though the sign of the Cross made by hand is not a substance, but in its external aspect it is all the same a quite real, material and visible movement, as the word in its external aspect is real sounds (or characters). Thus, in this external aspect the sign of the Cross is the same thing, as an icon. The difference here is only in the fact that the icon image (including the image of the Cross) is fixed in substance, and the sign of the Cross is visible only during its performance. Archbishop Nikon represents insufficient “materiality” of the sign of the Cross and of uttered names of God as the fact, which weakens their importance. According to his opinion, there is nothing for the grace where to be present, if we have nothing like a board and paints; and for that reason, from the Archbishop Nikon’s point of view, any material creation is more suitable for presence of God, than Divine symbols and images. Here we meet with real and crying iconoclasm, because actually in an icon, and also in the sign of the Cross, not at all their material component, wood and colours, are esteemed, but the very image, owing to the truth and Divinity of which the Represented Person is always present in an icon by His grace. The holy Fathers illustrate the meaning of image through many examples: when a coin is minted out from gold, we do not any longer say that it is piece of gold, but we say that it is a coin; the King’s image drawn on a coin makes this coin royal – not for the sake of metal, but for the sake of the image; the same image can be printed
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in absolutely different materials, remaining itself. Likewise, the image of the Divine Truth is embodied by different ways, with colours or with moving of a hand, remaining indissolubly connected with the Truth, i.e. with God, Which is always present in the image by His grace. Archbishop Nikon writes: “I repeat: the name of God for us is only a weak shadow of one of God’s properties or conditions, marked in our word or thinking; we render a due reverence even to a shadow as to an icon, for even the shadow of Apostle Peter healed the sick: but we do not dare to identify this shadow with God and to say that “the name of God is God””. Here the idea is clearly expressed that the Name of God is only a shadow of truth, and consequently in any case it is lower than icons. Let us remark that it is really possible to consider the shadow of Apostle Peter as an icon, though unclear in form, but quite obviously connected with figured person, more precisely, being created by the person, which casts this shadow. On the other hand, in the Scripture and the Tradition the word “shadow” in contrast to “image” is commonly used when the question is about the Old Testament prototypes, which were unavoidably vague; however it is obvious that the Name of God in its external aspect, as sounds and characters, in this sense is not a shadow, but a true verbal icon, and it is even primary and more important in comparison to icon images. It is evident, for according to the church rules, icons are consecrated through writing on them of the appropriate name, and only after this, we render to them a due reverence. Really, the true writing of the name possesses uniqueness and perfect distinctness in reflecting of the truth: it does not depend on any special talents of the writing person, and it is inseparable from the God-revealed contents. Therefore, a prayer offered before an icon with a due title ascends undoubtedly to the archetype. An icon image in itself may be more or less corresponding to its aim, but even the most perfect image in itself, without a title, does not quite unambiguously specify the pictured person. The title “Jesus Christ” on any icon of the Saviour testifies the Figured Person, though having similarity in appearance with a simple human being, to be really God and Man, One from the Holy Trinity. In its turn, the very image visibly testifies the truth contained in the Name of Jesus Christ, i.e. the truth about God's Incarnation. We are also to give heed that though the prayer without any icon is possible, but without the name of God, it is not possible in any way. Moreover, before the Word was made flesh, there was no the veneration of icons describing the Son of God according the flesh. However, at that time there were already the Godrevealed names of God, for without God-revealed names the true worship to God is impossible. Thus, the image shows the sense of a written inscription and makes this sense visible; and the inscription testifies the truth of the image. All icons of the Mother of God and of the Saints are testified with appropriate inscriptions too, and on every icon of a Saint, both the word “Saint” and a personal name should be written. The word “Saint” testifies the real deification reached by the man represented on the icon; thus, when we venerate it, we worship to God, marvellous in His Saints. The Comprehensive Catechesis speaks: “The same thing as the name of Crucified Jesus Christ uttered with faith through movement of mouth: the same is also the sign of the Cross performed with faith through movement of hand, or represented in any other way”, – here again the veneration of the image of the Cross is given by analogy with reverence of the Name of God in its external aspect. Thus, the venerated images of the Christ’s Cross bear also appropriate titles or attributes indicating that this is the saving Tree of the Lord. When a hand makes the sign of the Cross, the drawing up of fingers clearly represents the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The priestly blessingv is always made with a hand with fingers representing the name “Jesus Christ” (IC XC). Besides this, the performance of the sign of the Cross is always supplemented by the oral or mental calling of the Name of God. An inscription of the Name of God is inseparable from the very Name as from the God-revealed truth about God, i.e. it is inseparable from God. Therefore, the consecration of icons is always made through writing of the name on it, and the Divine force is present in every icon owing to the title (of course, only if the written name and the sacred image are corresponding to each other); and from here, it is evident that those, who reject the Divinity of the Name, should reject also the real presence of the grace in the icon images. Let us remind that ancient iconoclasts did not reject the veneration of the Name of God, but only the veneration of the visible image of an icon, i.e. in their deviation from the Christian faith, they had not yet come to onomatoclasm.
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We already have quoted the words of Archbishop Nikon: “But if a word in human language or any representation in our mind were found, in all plenitude embracing in itself all the properties and the perfections of God, even in this case it… would be only a mental image of God or a spiritual mindrepresented icon of Him, and not He Himself”. In Archbishop Nikon’s opinion, only if a name were embracing all the properties and perfections of God, it could be named an icon of God; so, because all the names of God show His properties only partly, they are not icons, but only shadows. However, the icon image especially is not capable to embrace and represent all the properties of God. Therefore, it is clear how far from the proper veneration of icons the Archbishop Nikon's concept is. But even the greatest miracle of the human soul's saving is wrought through the knowledge of the Truth, as the Lord Himself has testified, though this knowledge is not complete by any means, but always only partial, because the words “and ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free” (In. 8, 32) do not imply the knowledge of the incomprehensible Essence of God, but only participation in it through acceptance of the faith in the Divine Revelation. Thus, the Name of God in internal sense, as the true word of Three-Hypostases Truth, is God truly manifesting Himself; while in the external aspect it is the true verbal icon, in which God is present by His incomprehensible beneficial actions. Every icon image is also consecrated by this verbal icon, as well as every sacred thing thus becoming in turn participating in the Divine grace. Therefore, it is no wonder that the Christians perceive with reverence even absolutely secondary properties of the external, literal image of the Name of God. One of the most basic Christian symbols of antiquity is the figure of a fish, meaning the Name “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Saviour” enciphered in the Greek word “ΙΧΘΥΣ”. The circumstance (certainly not casual) was not also hidden from ancient people, i.e. that in Greek, a numerical value of the name “Jesus” is equal to 888, that symbolically means eternity of God the Trinity. Certainly, the Divine names, even translated in different languages, and therefore distinguishing by sounds and characters, are equally esteemed owing to the same truth expressed by them and the Same God truly named by them. Nevertheless, we see that some names are not translated in other languages, but reverently kept in the primary form (except for some inevitable changes of sounds): Sabaoth, Adonai, Jesus Christ63. This fact also shows that even the external aspect of the God-revealed Names is worthy of reverence and of naming them Divine, as the icons are named Divine. Accomplishment of the Church Sacraments by the Name of God Theophilakt of Bulgaria in his commentary on the Gospel according to John the Theologian writes the follows: “Hitherto have ye ask nothing in My Name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full64. – When, He tells, I shall revive, and after that, the Comforter will come and guide you into all truth, then… you will not require My mediation any more, but it will be enough for you to utter My Name in order to receive desirable things from the Father. In this way, He displays here the force of the Name, as they will neither see nor ask Him, but only will call the Name of Him, and He will work such deeds… My Name will give to you greater daring, and your joy will be the most perfect one”. – From here it is obvious that the Name of Incarnated God is the pledge given to us of the eternal and perfect joy, in which we here already take part by means of the Church Sacraments. However, onomatoclasts asserted that diverse miracles and the Church Sacraments are wrought by faith, and the called Name of God is only a mediating force in accomplishing of miracles and Sacraments. Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) writes concerning this as follows: “If the Sacraments were depending on faith of a person administering them and of those, which they were made over, would it be possible to be sure that every baptized one is really baptized, the chrismated one is chrismated, the person taking the Communion has received the Communion? The mind of the priest could be suddenly drawn away because of some thought during the calling of the Name of the Lord, and then, if the Name were a mediate
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Let us remark that in the Church Tradition, the Greek, instead of Jewish, transcription is primary and basic of the Name of the Son of God “Jesus”, and Greek, instead of Jewish, word “Christ” is used as His Name. In Church Slavonic (and in Russian) the word “Christ” in the Nominative case saves even the Greek declensional ending, in other cases substituted by Slavonic declensional endings. 64 Jn. 16, 24. 38

force only, the Sacrament would remain inactive. However, if the Name of God is God Himself, then even being called not in the proper way, it makes the Sacrament with Divine force inherent in it”. The establishment of the Church Sacraments, indeed, has an objective character, and it is impossible in a Protestant way to reduce the efficiency of the Sacraments to the own efforts and virtues of those people, who administer or partake them. Nevertheless, the Synod Epistle of 1913 says: “The Holy Sacraments are accomplished neither by faith of a person administering it, nor by faith of a person partaking it, and not also by virtue of the uttering or representation of the Name of God; but according to prayer and faith of the holy Church, on behalf of which they are accomplished, and by virtue of the promise given to her by the Lord”65. This phrase is a good example, how it is possible to evade the interpretation of the really important question by means of some expressions seeming quite similar to the truth. To avoid the subjectivism implied by the onomatoclastic doctrine, the Epistle instead of faith of some separate persons offered faith and prayers of the Church. Therefore, it is necessary to consider more closely, what is such a faith, about which they talk. Generally, the faith is at first a natural property of human being, without which human life and activity are impossible. As the natural mental force, the faith in itself is not able to work either miracles or Sacraments. How does it ever become saving, working of wonders and moving of mountains? It happens in a case, when it is directed to the only subject worthy of believing and absolute, i.e. to God. From the most perfect subject the faith borrows the perfect and unrestricted properties; so, instead of a natural, human action, it becomes a virtue and a mother of all the other virtues, as every virtue is a combination of human action and Divine grace. Besides this, though the saving of a man is also impossible without his own will and action, but, certainly, Divine action is incommensurable to restricted human efforts. Therefore, it is a common saying that the faith is a kind of hands, by which we accept good deeds of God: not the faith produces these good deeds, but the faith is necessary for receiving and adopting them. Therefore, hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) writes that more exactly we could name the faith as a force mediating in accomplishing the Sacraments and Divine miracles. All the effectiveness of faith is caused by the verity of its subject. “The Faith in the Truth saves, the faith in a falsehood destroys”, – reminds St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov). Unfortunately, many people today forget about that and try in a Protestant way to warm up the faith without any care of its verity. Nevertheless, “How shall they believe without a preacher?” – asks the Apostle. Certainly, the faith needs this very Truth to be found, which really saves; and this Truth was opened in the Apostles’ sermon, in God-inspired words, which are the words of God, and the head of which is the Divine Names. Let us return to the assertion of the Epistle that the Sacraments are accomplished by the faith of the Church. What does “faith” mean in this case? The expression “the faith of the Church” usually implies not the personal faith as a property of a separate man, but the common subject of faith, the common confession. It is the God-revealed Truth, which the Church has received from the Self-Truth, which She has inhaled as air in the day of Pentecost, by which She lives and breathes as the true Body of Christ, and which She keeps as the Pillar and ground of the Truth. Undoubtedly, the miracles and the church Sacraments are wrought by this faith, i.e. by confession of it. On the other hand, since the subject of the faith, as we have already said, actually is the Name of God, it is obvious that just through confession and calling of this Name all the Sacraments are wrought. However, the Synod Epistle interprets the faith as absolutely another thing – apparently, a personal mental property or a virtue, but not of those people, which directly participate in performing the Sacrament, but of the Church in general. In this way, the main question remains omitted, namely: what is the real connection between the common faith of the Church and the actions of the particular people, gathered in a church building or outside of it for performing the Sacrament? Why, according to prayers and faith of the Church, the Sacraments are made in some or other place? Archbishop Nikon writes that the Sacraments are really working, because they are made in the Church. Nevertheless, how can we see that some or other operation is working in the Church? How is it possible at
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any moment of a person’s life to see that this person is in the Church, that he is Her member? How also can a community of people be recognized as the Church, where God is present and the saving Sacraments are active? There is no need to discuss the words of the Epistle, as if the Sacraments are accomplished “on behalf of the Church”: they not only explain nothing, but also need interpreting, if only such interpreting is possible at all. All the Tradition of the Church gives evidence that just the true confession of the Faith, and also the calling of the Name of God show that a man or a community of people belongs to the Body of the Church. By the calling of God (oral or mental), all the human deeds are devoted to God and each moment of his life is consecrated. Likewise, in the Sacraments’ orders, by the calling of the Divine Name working these Sacraments, an outer shell of actions is consecrated. By the God-inspired words kept by the Church, the Divine Truth is professed, and by the God-established actions, all the dispensation of our salvation is pictured66. Thus, these orders are the icons of a special kind, through participation in which we enter quite really in the Divine life. As first-created Adam’s mind, according to St. Seraphim of Sarov, was immersed in the Word of God, in the same way in the Church, through the action of the Holy Spirit, any man has a possibility to immerse himself into the midst of the words of God, into the very Truth, although incomprehensible, but really and objectively announced, and also into true, and not imaginary church life, where God acts having given and opened this confession by Himself, and also by Himself having granted the God-inspired church prayers, by Himself dwelling in each word of Truth, by Himself working every Sacrament. However, onomatoclasts assert that if by the calling of the Name of God the Sacraments were made, it would mean a certain mechanical operation not needing either the true Faith, or a holy rank of an administering person, or belonging to the community of the believers. Nevertheless, it is obvious that when heretics, schismatics or church illegitimates call the Name of God not in truth, i.e. reject the Truth contained in it, they touch to the True God not for salvation, but for condemnation of themselves. We have already written that as the Name of God is God Himself, instead of any inanimate “energy”, so, being called, it acts in way, which is characteristic for God. It is not characteristic for God to act falsely, senselessly or disorderly, and consequently, to work the saving Sacraments beyond either the true confession or the established holy ranks. On the other hand, there are also exceptions of this rule, because God, Which knows the human heart, does also show the force of His Name beyond the usual order, for the sake of converting of the lost people. There are many examples in hagiography, when the Baptism was performed as a joke, or even for mockery, and such a performance turned out to be true and really changed a baptized person. The Synod Epistle, mentioning similar cases, explains them so, that “God manifests Himself for those, who did not ask”, – but after all it does not cancel the fact that not for somebody else, but just for those, who have called the Name of God, even as a joke, God repeatedly manifested Himself, truly evidencing His essential presence in this Name (according to its external aspect), and in exterior form of the church order, which through calling of the Name becomes a true icon of God. The Epistle also expresses a bewilderment concerning the words of hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) that by the calling of the Name of Jesus Christ, the bread and vine through the slaughtering of the Lamb at the Proskomide becomes the great-consecrated thing, though not the Body and the Blood of Christ in substance. The Epistle finds here something like the bread-worshipping heresy67, and thus rejects any reverence of the Gifts before the transubstantiation, though all the believers make a due worship to them during the Great Entrance at the Liturgy. Here we again meet the iconoclasm, because in fact when the Lamb is slaughtered at the Proskomide, by the calling of the Name of Jesus the bread becomes a true icon of Him, in which the Named Person is present truly by His grace. On the right hand of the Lord here the Most Holy Theotokos is truly represented – in a taken particle, which becomes Her true icon through the remembrance
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More in detail see in “Seven words about the life in Christ” by Nicolas Kavasila. Veneration of the Gifts, as already realized in the Body and the Blood, immediately after the words “Take, eat: this is My Body…” and “Drink ye all of this, this is Blood…” before the prayer: “And make this bread the precious Body of Thy Christ…” etc. (In Russian – “khlebopoklonnaya” heresy). 40

of Her most holy name, – and the whole Church of the alive and departed is truly represented in particles of the Prosphorae taken with remembrance of names of the Saints and all the believers. Therefore, the Eucharist bread is named as the Lamb, and also the particles taken for commemorating of the alive and the departed, later are immersed in the Blood of Christ with praying about the washing away of the sins of all, who were commemorated here. When the petition established for this purpose by God is brought, then, by the action of the same Name, the Gifts from images become the substance, the real Body and Blood of Christ68. However, while the Epistle does not understand the meaning of the images made at the Proskomide, Archbishop Nikon expresses strange opinions about the Gifts already consecrated: “According to logic of the defenders of the new “dogma”, it would be necessary to say directly that the Holy Gifts are God Himself. Certainly, in fact we render them the God-befitting worship. However the Church, believing so, does not anywhere directly express this faith in the verbal formula, as though considering any human word not to be reverent enough for expressing of the greatest mystery of God’s love towards us, the guilty ones, and also sparing infirmity of our understanding... Remember piteous godless Count Tolstoy [?]” The strange opinion (which in the essence is similar to Gnosticism), as if the Church may keep some most important dogmatic theses, not professing them verbally in order to prevent temptation, but only having them in mind, shows how far the onomatoclastic error can mislead. With utmost clearness, we can also see here a motive leading to such errors, namely – an inclination to be content with respectable, but not very well defined words, which would neither affect nor surprise anybody. (However, in reality, it would be useless to search for such expressions, which would not tempt Count Tolstoy and other godless ones). Confirming his idea, Archbishop Nikon cites the words of a prayer before the Holy Communion “this is Thine own Body, this is Thine own Blood”, instead of “this is God Himself”. Nevertheless, it is evident that though there were some persons, who doubted that the Holy Gifts become the true Body and the Blood of Christ, but nobody ever doubted that the Body and the Blood of Christ are Embodied God, as it is obvious. Likewise, in prayers we read the follows: “And as Thou didst deign to lie in a cave and in a manger of speechless animals, so deign now also to come into the manger of my speechless soul and corrupt body”. Christ Himself has once lain in a cattle manger for surprise of the speechless animals, which used to see here their usual food. Thus, the Lord symbolized in this way that henceforth, instead of cattle food, in which man had participated after the falling, the believers should partake in the true Heavenly Bread, i.e. the Lord Himself. Therefore, God repeatedly taught those, who had any doubts about this, when at the Divine Liturgy they saw slaughtered Christ, God the Infant, the true Bread distributed, but not being disunited, and assembling all people, who partake in Him, into the unity of His Body. In any aspect, as we can see, the faith in the Name of God is a basis of the church life, because only in the confession of the Divine Name’s Deity and of the indissoluble link between the Name and the Named One, the pledge of the true veneration of both icons and every consecrated thing consists, together with the true, instead of imaginary, concept of praying and the true, instead of formal or Protestant-arbitrary, doctrine about the church Sacraments. The Lord bestowed as a heritage to His disciples not a code of some external, human doctrines, rules and obligatory operations, but Him Himself, in the doctrine, in the praying and in the beneficial Sacraments. Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) writes about this as follows: “The Lord, parting with His disciples, granted and bestowed to them four principal commandments and four beneficial heritages. Firstly, it is a commandment to accomplish the Divine Sacrament of His Body and Blood “in remembrance of Him”; and this is not only His commandment, but also His eternal heritage for us, that is He Himself. Secondly, He gave a commandment about keeping of peace, with God, with our conscience and with neighbours; that is possible only through performing of His commandments, and this is not only His commandment, but at the same time also His Divine heritage, since this is He, Who gives to feel
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One of the modern defenders of onomatoclasm tries in his own way to interpret the Epistle, as if in it was only condemned the expression, used by Bulatovich: “Jesus Himself according to grace, but not yet in essence”. However, even if this expression is not absolutely usual, its sense is quite clear: the question was about the presence of the Named Person by His grace in the Gifts prepared at the Proskomide. 41

Himself in our hearts by the feeling of the heart peace: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you” (Jn. 14, 27). – “Have peace one with another” (Mk. 9, 50). Thirdly, He gave the commandment about mutual love – and firstly, about the love unto Him and unto God, the love that we should express by making all His commandments, and secondly, about the love unto each other; and this again is not only His commandment, but also His Divine heritage, because only that person can love, who has Christ dwelling in his heart. – “God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 Jn. 4, 16). – “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us” (1 Jn. 4, 12). – “Continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love” (Jn. 15, 10). – “These things I command you, that ye love one another” (Jn. 15, 17). In fourth, the Lord gave the commandment about faith in His Name, and the commandment about calling of His Name and about applications through His Name, and this is also not only His commandment, but His Divine heritage too, i.e. He Himself, as the Psalms’ author has predicted prophetically: “The Lord will hear thee in the day of trouble, the Name of the God of Jacob will defend thee” (Ps. 19, 1). – “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt. 18, 20). – I.e. the Name of Lord will substitute Him in the midst of those that call Him. – “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if ye shall ask any thing in My Name, I will do it” (Jn. 14, 11-14). – “Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you” (Jn. 15, 7, 16). – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you. Ask and ye shall receive” (Jn. 16, 23, 24)”69. These gifts of God are naturally connected one to another, because they are nothing else, but the presence in the Church of Her Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Spirit. Therefore, for example, in the beginning of the Eucharist orders, we pray about peace from above, and before the very Eucharist Canon, after receiving peace proclaimed by a priest, we hear an appeal to love one another, so that with one accord we may confess the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: of the Trinity, One in Essence and undivided. The same thing we may also say about other Sacraments of the Church. In this way, the Holy Christening is accomplished by the calling of the Name of God and due to the faith in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also it is accomplished in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name (Jn. 1, 12) – these words, according to an interpretation of St. Simeon the New Theologian, were said concerning the Christening. It is impossible to understand this in other way, according to the Patristic doctrine that we believe on the Name of God, as His essence is inaccessible to us. Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) writes: “St. Cyril of Jerusalem also says about the holy Christening that at accomplishing of it everyone was asked, whether he believes in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Works, p. 287). – About the anointment of baptized people before Christening with sacred chrism he says that the force of this chrism is borrowed from the Name of God called upon it; therefore, the chrism with the same force as the Name of God, scorches and expels the hostile force: “as well as a blowing of the Saints and calling of the Name of God, similarly to the strongest flame, scorches and expels the demons, and this conjuring chrism, by the calling of God and by the praying, obtains such force that not only burn and efface the traces of sin, but also expels all invisible forces of the evil one” (Ibid., p. 286). – In a Homily about the Chrismation, the same Saint says that its force originates from nothing else, but the Name of God called upon it: “This holy myrrh, after calling [i.e. after calling the Name of God upon it at its consecration], is already not simple or, as though somebody would say, ordinary myrrh, but the gift of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, having become effective because of presence of the Deity in it” (Ibid. p. 290). The Saint says also in the same way about the Sacrament of the holy Communion: “The bread and vine of the Eucharist before the holy calling of the Trinity worthy of worship, were the simple bread and simple vine, and after uttering the calling [i.e. of the
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“The Apologia”, part I. 42

Name of God in preliminary prayers and of the Name of the Holy Spirit in the words: “changing them by Thy Holy Spirit”, and of the Name of Jesus Christ in the priestly sign of the Cross] – the bread becomes the Body of Christ, and vine becomes the Blood of Christ” (Ibid., p. 284)”70. Hieroschemamonk Anthony remembers also an evidence of the Apostle John the Theologian that three main Sacraments depend on the Name of the Lord, for after naming the Chrismation, the Christening and the Communion as “the spirit, and the water, and the blood” (1 Jn. 5, 8) witnessing on earth, the Apostle completes the speech with the words: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the Name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions, that we desired of Him” (1 Jn. 5, 11-15). – From this, it is also obvious why, for example, heretics and schismatics cannot accomplish true Sacraments, calling the Name of the Son of God not according to His will. On the contrary, weakness and infirmity is not obstacle for accomplishment of Sacraments by the Name of the Lord, because the will of God is just so, that the ailing people would be healed and saved through the calling of His most holy Name. The latest onomatoclasts Among onomatoclasts, as we have already said, there is no unity of opinions and judgements even in the most important points of their doctrine. The main position of the Epistle of 1913, to which onomatodoxes were opposed, was the statement that energies of God are not God, but only the Deity. As it is not a new heresy, but the old and already condemned heresy of Barlaam, Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) and other onomatodoxes have broken the communion with the Synod immediately after its official announcement. In 1914, they were deceived with a decree of the Synod Office Court, which was given to them without mentioning of the postscript that the Synod agreed to remove the prohibitions, but adhered to the former opinion concerning the faith. When in 1918 the matter had become clear, onomatodoxes broke the communion again, this time with the Patriarch and his Synod, until the dogmatic problem would be reconsidered. Let us remember that, according to the report of S.V.Troitsky, the doctrine of onomatodoxes was condemned just because they considered the energies of God as God. Professor Troitsky wrote that if we spoke about the Name of God according to its internal and objective aspect, it would be possible to name it Divine, as it is the energy of God, but it would not be possible to name it God. Though the Synod has gone further in its decree, rejecting in general any objective relation between the Name of God and God Himself, they did not condemn Prof. Troitsky, to all appearance, considering the doctrine about energies of God as the main point. After such a long period passed by, many people are afraid now to recognize that onomatodoxes were right in their confession of the faith. You see their justification inevitably conducts to condemnation of the Most Holy Synod's official decree, confirmed afterwards also by the Patriarch Synod, though it was done only temporarily, in expectation of future council decision. Among the modern onomatoclasts, there are such persons, who completely accept the Decree of 1913 and at the same time, wishing to strengthen the authority of Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky), accept and develop his crossoclasticvi heresy. On the other hand, there are also such persons, who do not want to accept the Barlaamistic doctrine; however, wishing to be loyal children of those Synods, they ignore the divergences with them and represent the question so, as if onomatodoxes were condemned only for consideration of Names of God as energies of God. Such a position is reflected in one of the works by Vladimir Moss 71. We would not like to go deep into analysis of this apologia, supposing at least a plain conscientiousness to be necessary for a serious doctrine essay, which conscientiousness we cannot observe in this case. For example, Vladimir Moss writes the follows: “The Divine Light, Which Saint Apostles have seen on the mountain of Tabor, as the Divine Energy, was and is God (or “Divinity”, according the terminology of Russian theologians)”. Through this elegant phrase he gives to understand that the question
70 71

“The Apologia”, part II. In square brackets, there are notes of hieroschemamonk Anthony. V. Moss, “The name of God and imyabozhnicheskaya heresy”. 43

is only in some other terminology of “Russian theologians”, i.e. of the Synod Epistle authors; but actually, Vladimir Moss cannot be ignorant about the Synod Epistle denying the very fact that the Divine Light is God, and not only "Divinity" or "Deity". Such slyness provides the author a possibility to reproach the onomatodoxes from a position of superiority, as persons disobedient to the Church authorities. Besides this, Vladimir Moss mentions that Ecumenical Patriarch Herman V has condemned the onomatodoxes’ doctrine, supposing that in the formula “the Name of God is God Himself” the words “God Himself” imply the Essence of God. However, Moss cannot be ignorant of the fact that Patriarch Herman V did not thus object that the Name of God is the energy of God. On the other hand, onomatodoxes from their part explained that the expression “God Himself” did not at all mean the Essence of God, but only “the same God” named with this Name, and not any other god, special and separate. Thus, Patriarch Herman V had actually shown the agreement of opinions with onomatodoxes and condemned the doctrine, which they never did confess, while Vladimir Moss, using the authority of the Patriarch as a cover, rejects the doctrine, which the latter did recognize. Ignoring other similar deliberate or not quite deliberate distortions of the facts, we say only a few words about Divine names, which Vladimir Moss divides into created and not created ones, as if onomatodoxes were mixing them up. He supposes that “word” and “name” in a usual sense is simply sounds, and that the divine energies can be named words and names only in allegorical sense. In reality, nevertheless, in the most usual meaning, “word” is not simply a set of sounds isolated from sense, but just a sense expressed with sounds; and in the God-revealed names, this sense constituting an essence of a word is the Divine truth, i.e. the Energy of the Deity. Therefore, Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) also writes that when we speak about the God-revealed Name of God according to its external aspect, i.e. according to aspect of sounds, which it is contained in, we say that God is present at the Name. On the other hand, when we speak about the very Name, i.e. about the God-revealed truth expressed in it, then, as the energy of God, it is God Himself. Nevertheless, Vladimir Moss thinks that the created envelopes of names are names in exact sense, and exist irrespective of their meaning. However, such an opinion destroys completely the concept of the Divine Revelation, because every person originally can touch with God-revealed Truths only through external aspect, i.e. sound and alphabetic one. Moss supposes that only in the mouth of Saints, the Divine words though are not already the words of God, all the same have some spiritual sense, because the Spirit dwells in the Saints. On the other hand, a reprobate person or a demon can also utter the same words, and in this case, according to the Moss’s opinion, there is nothing divine in these words. He writes the follows: “But apart from the Incarnation of God the Word, after the truth is embodied, so to speak, in sphere of created things, it acquires autonomous existence, and can be used or manipulated by enemies of God. And the Spirit of Truth does not play any part in this treatment or manipulation with the truth”. However, though the Spirit of Truth does not participate in “manipulation”, but in Divine words He certainly dwells, even when heretics or demons utter them. The Incarnation of the Hypostatic Word of God is the summit of all the Divine Revelation. And as well as the Hypostatic Word remains Himself and is not reduced because of Incarnation, so any word of Truth does neither reduce nor change because of the embodiment, though it is enveloped as though into "flesh", i.e. into the components corresponding to the human mind and even to the corporeal structure of the man. As the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, while being on earth, was accessible not only for reverence, but also for humiliation, so the word of truth, being shown to the people, may also be defiled through mixing up with falsehood and blasphemy. However, just about the “embodied” words the Lord says the follows: The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (In. 12, 48). Obviously, the question is about the audible words, and not only of those, which the Saviour said by Himself, but also of those, which His Apostles carried up to the very limits of earth. Otherwise, if we did not consider these words as the energies of God, how could they judge the people? When the Angels had announced the nativity of the Saviour of the world to the shepherds, which told His Most-Pure Mother these words, at that time – as it is written – Mary kept all these words, and pondered them in her heart (Lk. 2, 19). What words did she keep in her heart – angelic or human ones? – But it is evident that the Divine words announced through the Angels and the men. Likewise, as holy Prophets and
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Apostles had served for the manifestation in the world of the God-revealed words, they became partly similar to the Most Blessed Virgin, without purity and humility of Which the Incarnation of the Word of God would be impossible. While She said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto Me according to thy word”, – she became indeed The One, Who lent the flesh to Pre-eternal God. In same way, the Saints were honoured through their selflessness and obedience to God as though to lend to Him their human properties for embodiment of the Divine truths. Therefore, as well as He that was begotten from the Virgin did not cease to be the True God, so the Church esteem every word uttered from mouths of Prophets as the true word of God. When we either hear these God-revealed words, even from simple people, or read them in the books, they keep their properties, and not change them. In fact, if their nature were dependent from the person uttering them, in a lifeless book they would be completely deprived of any sense. Thus, what does happen, when heretics or even demons utter words of Divine Truth? Certainly, the outrage upon it happens, which causes a condemnation, and thus this word, according the Lord’s saying, judges the unrighteous people. It is completely similar to what the singings of the Holy Week say about the Lord Himself, Who suffered torments, spits and blows, delivering the conviction upon the nations. Therefore St. John Chrysostom also says in his word against Jews that it is impossible to praise them for reverence towards the Prophets, because the Jews are similar to robbers, keeping in their den those holy men, mocking at them and abusing them. The Saint says this just because mocking for the holy Prophets consist here in nothing else but perversion of truths, in which they believe, and perversion of prophetical words, which they announced to the people. It is clear that personally about the Prophets he has said this just because Jews flout the Divine words so that those words as though are held in bonds. About those, who pervert the Law of God, the Apostle says also the same thing, namely that they hold the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1, 18) – i.e. they not only utter evil human words, but mix up the God-revealed Truth with falsehood. As the Embodied Son and Word of the Father besides the Divine nature has assumed the human one for the sake of the people salvation, so the divine words shown to the people have external and human aspect too, without which we could not get in touch with them and obtain the true Faith and salvation. The Apostle says: though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we no more (2 Cor. 5, 16), – and we also, though always perceive the words of God originally according to their exterior aspect, but have to pass from the letter to the spirit to know the truth of God not after the flesh and so not to be killed by the deadly letter. Nevertheless, it is not because the letter in itself is evil, but because those, who judge according the letter, have separated it from the spirit and broken off this union in their mind in the same way as the people judging about Christ only according His human nature and rejecting His Deity. Vladimir Moss, looking for other bases for the onomatoclastic doctrine, besides Barlaamism, is forced to go further than the Synod Epistle of 1913 in the digression from the Orthodox doctrine about the Name of God. For example, he writes and emphasizes repeatedly that the names of God are “human invention”, while the Epistle anyhow recognizes the Name of God to be “Divine, because it is open to us by God”. In a final part of his work, Vladimir Moss quotes words from the report of Prof. Troitsky, who writes that though the Name of God is not God, “but in prayer, as in kind of practical, instead of theoretical activity of our spirit, to determine such difference is impossible, for if our consciousness were engaged with a merely theoretical idea that the name the Lord and the Lord Himself are not the same, it would be no longer a prayer, but an abstract, theoretical speculation”. These words are the best evidence against onomatoclasm, because the truth about God never hinders praying: we see that all the liturgical texts, singings and church prayers are full of dogmatic definitions. On the contrary, if a certain idea concerning God hinders praying, it evidently shows its falsehood in spite of all its seeming probability. Therefore it is no wonder that standing on such a false base, Vladimir Moss has finished his composition with the description invented by him, of the hierarchy of the universe, where on the top there is God, below Him there are the reasonable creations, Angels and human beings, and even underneath there are icons, the Divine service, the Cross of Christ and the names of God. The author does not adduce a source for his fundamental discovery and without any hesitation puts beneath the human beings the esteemed by the Angels and the people the Lord’s Cross, about which St. Gregory Palamas writes as follows:
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“But not only the concept (“the word”) of the Cross is a mystery, but also its sign is Divine and worthy of worship, as the holy and honourable Seal, consecrating and accomplishing bestowed by God to the mankind the supernatural and unutterable blessings; depriving damnation and condemnation, destroying corruption and death, providing eternal life and blessing, the Saving Tree, the Royal Sceptre, the Divine Trophy upon enemies visible and invisible; although for unreasonable heretics in their folly [it] would not be pleasant, for they have not comprehended the significance of the Apostles’ prayer so that they be able to comprehend with all the Saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height: as the Cross of the Lord is showing all the dispensation of His Coming in flesh and is including all the mystery about this, and extending in all the extremities, and embracing all: things above, things beneath, things around, things between. …Besides this, if somebody did worship to the sign of the Cross without inscription on it of the name of Christ, perhaps such a man would be rightly blamed, as he did something besides proper things, but as soon as at the name of Jesus Christ any knee bows of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, – and the Cross holds this esteemed name, – what a folly is not to bow knees at the Cross of Christ?!”72 Here the Saint refutes also the assertion expressed by Vladimir Moss that as if the sign of the Cross is consecrated not by inscription of the Name of Christ on it, but its form “possesses the force chasing demons”. According to interpretations of numerous Fathers, the crosses of the robbers had the same form, not having the same force; therefore, in discovering of the Cross of Christ there appeared a miracle of healing and resurrection of a dead man just from the Honourable Tree, on which the Saviour of the world was crucified. We will not here consider other points, but finish on those that are already said, because for the unbiased mind of any believing person it is obvious that onomatoclasm in any form, in some or another way, results to rejecting of the bases of the Christian Faith. Therefore, not thinking more highly than we ought to think, we shall think according to the measure of faith, not constructing “abstract, theoretical speculations”, which are opposite to praying experience of the Saints and destroy our own praying and godliness.
i

So it is in Slavonic (Jn. 1, 1). In Slavonic: “has hoped to call”. i NB: in English Old Testament their names (“Joshua” or “Jeshua”) differ from “Jesus”. ii In English text “by Him”, but in Slavonic “o sem” that means rather “by it” (by the Name) in this context; the same words are in the Greek text. iv In Slavonic “Isus”, without a title, while “Iisus” (“Jesus”) was usually written with a title, in abbreviated form: “IC” or “IHC”. v In Russian – “imenoslovnoye blagoslovenie” (that is by the word of the Name). vi In Russian – “krestoborcheskaya”.
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St. Gregory Palamas. Homilies. M., “Palomnik”, 1993, part I, p. 119. The homily about the Precious and Life-giving Cross. 46

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