Beloved sons, fellow pastors of the flock of Christ:
Beloved children, rational sheep of the rational flock:
I greet you with spiritual joy in the invincible hope of the Resurrection:
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
As the ongoing COVID-19 crisis continues, I want to address all of you as your father in Christ, to encourage you, by the power of the Lord’s Resurrection, in the hope of our salvation, and to provide sober guidance in the midst of the confusion surrounding us.
During this crisis, our Holy Synod, along with individual hierarchs of our Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, have provided timely and rich exhortations to all of us, to intensify our life of prayer, fasting, sacrifice, and acts of love for neighbor. Unless we sharpen our spiritual sight by cleansing from the passions, how shall we able undeceived to “read the signs of the times,” as Our Lord requires (Matthew 16:3)? Indeed, we must sharpen our spiritual sight, and we must also read the signs of the times. It is of this latter obligation– to read the signs of the times — that I wish now to speak.
Many of you know that I love to speak of Orthodoxy as “sanctified common sense.” You are rational sheep in the flock of Christ, called upon to be wise as serpents as well as harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). You are not required to, indeed must not, practice blind obedience to the Church’s authorities. Many of us were formerly members of ecclesiastical jurisdictions that became corrupted and fell into heresy. Discretion is a virtue. If we did not seek the truth at the appropriate time in the past, we would not have found the rightly confessing Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece.
Today, even more obviously, you must not adopt a habit of blind obedience to the civil authorities, especially when the spirit of the Antichrist is so evidently present in our culture. Many civil authorities have repeatedly revealed their hostility for the institutions of the Church, historical Christian society, and the traditional family, and announced their open intention to destroy them all. In all things lawful in the eyes of God, we must obey the civil authority, rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. When Caesar, however, arrogates to himself the status of a god, we must resist him, even if that means accepting a martyric death.
I heartily encourage my reason-endowed flock to maintain a respectful and charitable attitude towards our civil authorities, but true respect, as well as true charity – agape – is made manifest in our readiness to courageously “speak the truth in love.” (Eph 4:15)
Historical reality and common sense demand that we make a distinction between the pious Orthodox rulers of the past and the present anti-Christian secular regimes, who for a long time now have openly made clear their intention not only to drive the Church from the public square, but also to invade our churches, our homes, and even our minds, in order to create a secularized anti-Christian “paradise on earth.”
The leaders of atheist secularism have openly written about these aforementioned goals for more than one hundred years. One need only pay careful heed to the words written in their own books and publications and observe their deeds. There is no hidden conspiracy here, but rather an oft-proclaimed and officially sanctioned program to spread the spirit of Antichrist and to enact policies in that spirit. We need not delve into detailed and precarious interpretations of St. John’s Apocalypse in order to draw these conclusions. We need not speculate about the time of the actual Antichrist’s arrival on earth in order to discern the Antichrist spirit, which has warred against the Church from the beginning. We need only be sober and attentive, consistently loyal to the Church’s teaching and to our Christian conscience.
Therefore, any Orthodox Christian under my omophorion who wishes openly to question the mainstream media narrative or the government’s policies in the present situation has my blessing to do so, as long as he uses information from reliable sources, makes a rational argument, and proceeds in a charitable and truly Orthodox spirit, informed by prayer and a healthy spiritual life. There is room in the Church for legitimate disagreement on these matters. Our common goal should be to pray to God that the truth be revealed and to actively seek the truth. No one should be intimidated, ridiculed, or shamed by anyone for seeking the truth and expressing his opinion.
Holy love and meekness do not exclude courage and militancy in the face of evil. There is a time to hold our civil leaders accountable for the sake of the well being of our families. Let us speak the truth in love.
Your fervent intercessor before the Lord,
+Moses, of Toronto