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Question 30.

Dear Pater Christopher,

Thank you for your beautiful website.
While it goes back a few years, I remember seeing the Church of Cyprus a number of times condemning the wrong teachings of freemasonry. Has anything changed in this regard?
Although all my life was spent in the Greek Archdiocese of America, as is sadly the case with a number of other clergy in the GOAA, my family was abandoned by the hierarchy in large part because of this very issue. There are many good leaders and faithful in this temporary “jurisdiction” that was established in 1922, with the full support of my new Archbishop xxxxx in the Orthodox Church of America (OCA), I no longer have to be concerned about guiding people who have questions on the matter if the need arises.
Pray for us

In Christ
Fr. xxxxx

 

Answer to Question 30

Dear Fr. xxxxx,

From your email I didn't understand who was for and who against the freemasonry, but as the church in general is opposed to them, I can only assume that you speak in support of them. In our days, the masons are in general a group of people who are involved in charitable and good works, but historically they were a secret religious sect opposed to the traditional teachings of the church. Today this is not so obvious even among its members, but certain rites still take place.  The practice of freemasonry includes temples, altars, a moral code, worship services, vestments, feast days, a hierarchy of leadership, initiation and burial rites, and promises of eternal reward and punishment. During the initiation ceremony, the candidate kneeling, is blindfolded in front of the altar and required to make an oath to freemasonry and its secrets, under pain of death by placing his hands upon the volume of sacred law or even the Bible. He is told that he does not know all the secrets for which he is taking an oath. But after the initiation, the general members are not involved with the religious aspect of the movement. Only when someone moves to the higher positions is he aware than they exist. This is where the church comes in conflict with the masons because any group having secret rites means that it is a religious sect teaching something very different to what the church teaches.

In modern times, and in an effort to bring together people of different provenances, Masonry requires that its members adhere to a minimal belief in a “Supreme architect of the universe, a God for all people whether they be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu and leave aside all other aspects of their faith. Thus, Jesus and the truth of His divinity, Incarnation, Salvation and Second Coming have no place in their doctrine. For most people active in the Masonic lodges, the activities are more social in nature; and for someone seeing the good works and meeting the members, who are ordinary people with an disposition for helping, it is very easy to be drawn to their defence. But, there is more to the Masonry than meets the eye.

You should put your trust in the Church as she has been around for two thousand years and has carefully studied every heresy and secret sect that cropped up during that time. It is not a question of stubborn men with views stuck in the middle ages who are not willing to be open minded with modern ideas. There is something very secret about the Masons and if they were a harmless group of people just doing good works then why the need for secret ceremonial rites?

With love in Christ

Fr. Christopher

 

Reply by Fr. xxxxx
Dear Pater Christopher,
THANK you again, for your martyria. Forgive my not being clearer. A main reason that our family was abandoned is that all in all, the GOAA strongly supports masons inside it. Besides ignorance and pride-- how could my _____ (relative) have been wrong? -- the main reason for this is money and the things of this world over God, truth and people’s very souls. So many of our people from the time of poor Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis, are members including my maternal grandfather xxxxx as well as my father of blessed memory xxxxx who at least, got out when he learned better.
I was told by my former chancellor xxxxx, “You must understand Father xxxxx, the Holy Metropolis of xxxxx has absolutely no problem with someone being at the same time, a member of the Masonic lodge and an Orthodox Christian.” Nineteen years ago after the repose of the godly bishop of integrity xxxxx, who oversaw our parish in xxxxx, his replacement (until another hierarch was selected) Fr. xxxxx who happens to be one of the two most influential priests in the Archdiocese in front of the sacred icons in the centre of the Church said to the faithful, “you all need to know that there is no problem for a person to be both an Orthodox Christian and a member of the Masonic lodge.”
You see Pater Christopher, when I would visit the Holy Mount Athos on a number of occasions during my 10 months’ stay in Greece with my wife as newlyweds, I would hear this warning from the God-fearing fathers there who knew how influenced the Church in America has been by it, “Be careful of the masons.”
How can most priests who are close to bishops in the Archdiocese who remain with closed mouth on the subject, have any courage to say anything?
After all, the above mentioned Fr xxxxx’s good father, relatives, parishioners who gave so much money to his wealthy parish and/or directly to the Archdiocese were masons / therefore, “how is it possible for the Lodge to be a bad thing?”
As much as anyone in America of Hellenic extraction, my family has suffered because of even the lightest stand on the matter. To be considered in a particular Metropolis, I had to sign a letter that I would never raise the subject, which I did and didn’t have a problem with because as my spiritual father said, “it will be on their heads at the judgement seat.” And yet, I was still, not offered anything because supposedly, according to one bishop, I can be a “mason magnet.” Well, it is true that with the Lord’s help, I’ve had the honour of leading a number of men out of the Lodge. Glory to God!
Since the official teaching of the lodge is that the one they worship is the eosphoro/Lucifer, something purposefully kept from all except as you say, the highest adepts, how can we not realize why local Orthodox Churches compromised on this matter that is so much more serious than Arianism do not have God’s full blessings, wisdom and humility? There’s no other way to put it, but demons have influenced our leadership to bring confusion, which is not of God (I Cor. 14:33). We have bishops and priests publicly honouring many faithful who’ve never confessed, openly support abortions, have striptease bars, devil nites at their restaurants, and I’m just getting started. They tell us that “for the common good of the Church we must have patience” and so on and so forth while we work on being the most politically popular that we can be.
Fortunately, as with the Churches of Cyprus, ROCOR, Serbia and many others, the OCA does not allow any mason to lead a parish in any way or even vote. Some will not let them receive communion. The latter was the OCA’s position in the late ‘60s when whether they wished to or not, all priests had to announce from the pulpit that if one is a member of the Masonic Lodge, “he/she has to decide within the next few weeks. Either leave the Church or exit the lodge…”
As we move forward with faith to somehow not lose our home, pray for us. The financial raping of a number of us who’ve in private asked questions, is not easy to accept. It seems that the hierarchy give account to no one but themselves and of course, the super wealthy, many of whom have a similar mindset only because of the poor example and distorted teaching from some previous spiritual leaders who by being members themselves, led their parents to become masons. Thus, many Lutherans not tolerating masonry are in fact, more Orthodox than a good number of men wearing cassocks with long beards. Some sincere priests not realizing better, will say “I have kids to put through college…” And if I didn’t know better, I would say the same. But after I learned what Albert Pike, Manley Hall, Coil and so many others teach, I could not but carefully, take a stand. Presbytera and our kids have paid a TREMENDOUS price because of this “foolishness” (I Cor. 4:10).
In Christ Jesus,
unworthy Priest Fr xxxxx


Reply to Fr. xxxxx


Dear Fr xxxxx,
Christ is in our midst!
I apologize for assuming that you were in support of the masons. In truth I had no idea at what scale this unholy sect has infiltrated the Church, but at the same time I am not shocked. Bishops and Priests are after all only human and even though I like to think that when they entered the Priesthood they were all humble and true believers of the Gospel, some have not the spiritual strength and unmoveable faith to remain steadfast and are easy prey to the temptations of this world, especially when these temptations involve money and power. Very often, we Priests forget our humble beginnings, and in time, take the Church and her teachings for granted, believing that we are above such teachings and they are only things we teach the people to keep them in check. If however, we take a close look at ourselves we’ll often see a great similarity with the Scribes and Pharisees during the time of Christ. They too, were spiritual leaders of the people and fell to the same temptations that many Priests fall to today.
Every year at the Matins of Holy and Great Tuesday we read the Gospel reading where Christ reprimanded the spiritual leaders of Israel. But this should not serve only as a historical account of what Christ said. It should also, remind us to beware of falling into the same traps. For what was valid then is valid for us today.
Of course each and every one of us will give account for his actions before the dread judgement seat of Christ, but how much more will we priests be judged? We’ve willingly taken upon ourselves to be accountable for the spiritual welfare of the flock that God has entrusted to us. Thus Fr xxxxx, you and your family are bearing a heavy Cross because you decided to remain steadfast in those things you believe in. God will reward you for your patience and martyria although sometimes it is not so obvious in this life. He has already led you to a haven with the OCA who have the courage to keep masons from their communities.
With brotherly love in Christ
Fr. Christopher


Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi... But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in... Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity... (Matthew 23: 1-39)