Friday, December 4, 2015

The Scourge Of Modern Culture

Isolationism is a mind and heart destroying disease which is subtly fragmenting mankind and isolating each of us from one another. The war cry of this disease is, "Divide and conquer". This strategy is at work within the human heart and mind trickling down to and infecting the entire earth. 

As a predator seeks to separate its prey from the herd before it moves in for the kill, so it is with the disease of isolationism. The disease is infecting all mankind and the communication technologies are the primary vehicles used to infiltrate its host.   

Texting, twittering, emailing, video and TV are representative forms of this pathogen. These communication technologies are now the norm and despite the benefits of convenience, the downside is resulting in people being dealt with as digitised entities of synthetic energy forms that are neither natural or real.  

The technologies that support these digitised forms of interaction are in and of themselves facilitated by energies that interrupt all natural life systems contributing to sickness, disease and ultimately death whether it is bees, birds, animals or man.

The disease of isolationism has also infected sciences by dividing every field of study into separate disciplines. By doing so lines of communication are cut and interaction between disciplines are minimised. The end result is biological systems no longer being congruent and holistic but fragmented and independent resulting in retardation, perversity and chaos instead of coordination, order and structure.

Isolationism is a limb of modern culture which is leading to a bleak and lonely future and its destruction is immanent but out of the ashes will arise something beautiful, something that has been lost to this modern world of plastics, chemicals and faux wood. 

All that which is false will burn up in the end, it will disintegrate, it will vaporise, it will cease to ever be known again while that which is  true, right and good will stand and the fires of devastation will only make more pure that which is true, right and good. 

For some the future will be bright and beautiful filled with joy and peace while for others the future will be dark and ugly filled with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Where you will be then will be determined by where you are now. Where are you, do you know?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

An Open Letter To Doug Wilson Who Is Yet Again Seeking To Impose Harm Upon The Innocent

Dear Doug, 
This is Gary Greenfield and I'm going to reminisce a bit here. It's been a long time since we've interacted with each other and it's been a long time since we've interacted with each other and it's been a long time since we first met in 1976 when you were playing guitar in the Christian fellowship we both attended as young men still in college. You advanced quickly from guitarist to teacher after the older teacher/pastor ran off with a young lady in a our very small group and you ended up taking over as our teacher. 

From the first time I heard you teach, I knew you were going to become a dynamic and renown Christian leader. Why? You were endowed from the very beginning of your ministry with a knack for teaching in a very powerful and compelling manner that was unique, fresh and forceful. Just as Jesus says, the student will be become greater than the teacher, I think the charisma of your father, who was a great teacher and evangelist was passed on to you and you ended up building your ministry on the shoulders of your father. 

I still look fondly back on the days when you would faithfully drive down to Lewiston from Moscow every Sunday to teach the small band of converts that met in the living room of our tiny home. That gathering evolved into Port Cities Evangelical Fellowship and our friendship grew as we both led that group as elders for something like ten years. I still remember computers being something of a novelty back then and you talked about how much one of those contraptions could help you to become a more prolific writer and I ended up purchasing your first computer for you. It brought me great joy to know I was helping you to practice your gift of writing and teaching for the benefit of helping more students and young families to become better grounded in the truths of God's word. 

During those early years of living out our faith as zealous and committed followers of Jesus Christ, we were filled with innocence, exuberance, sincerity and a great hope in the power of the gospel to change lives in significant ways first in Moscow and Pullman, then Lewiston and Clarkson and eventually the entire country. Early on, we were just a bunch of folks, young and old who loved Jesus with a desire to live out our lives without hypocrisy or fakery and we were ready to take the world captive for Jesus Christ. I also remember the day I opened up my computer to a message from you asking me to review the formation document for what was then to be called, The Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Christians. I opened it, read it, and closed it and I never responded to your request for input. 

Something in my heart told me that this was a bandwagon that I was not going to jump onto. I had been adverse to organised religion since I was a little seven year old crying boy who was forced to go to confession to talk to a man I didn't know who was hidden behind a screen in a dark little closet. Maybe my fears of being alone in a dark closet with a man I didn't know stemmed from being sexually abused by my uncle when I was two years old. Maybe a lot of problems I encountered in my early years or even perhaps even later years were a result of sexual abuse that was kept a secret for most of my life and when I finally did get up the courage to talk to someone, I was an older man and I told my Mom. Her response was a total emotional shut down, she couldn't cope and refused to believe it or talk about it and that was the end of it. For all of my life, I've lived with traumatising memories that I have found too repulsive and too embarrassing to talk about to anyone, not even my wife of 32 years.

Anyways, I attended mass with my Mom most every Sunday until I was old enough to rebel at which time I refused to spend time in a place I felt was a waste of time. Why did I feel it was a waste of time? Because my heart hungered for truth and I intuitively knew the Church was supposed to be the place where we learned God's word but it wasn't being taught there, so I angrily left at the age of thirteen and never went back. When I became a follower of Jesus Christ at the age of twenty-one, I ended up attending a few services of various mainline denominations but even then, something in my heart drove me away from those places. 

For all of my life up until the age of fifty, I've had an aversion to organised religion institutions and when Doug Wilson sent me a document that would make the church I attended an official religious organisation like all the others I had known, everything in my being told me to flee and to have nothing to do with it, but yet, this was my family, these were my brothers and sisters in Christ, these were the people with which so many rich memories had been created over the years, not bad memories like from my past. 

After the formation of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals, I began to quietly distance myself from the leadership of the CRE while at the same time seeking to raise my family in the church, develop friendships and to be involved in selective ministry that was not an official part of the church. As time went on, my fears that the CRE would become like all the other religious organisations came to fruition. It's not that I expected perfection or a problem free environment but because it was what I thought was the Church of Jesus Christ and I expected that problems and challenges that would inevitably arise would be dealt with in loving, honest and sincere ways that reflected the heart of Christ and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. 

As Christ Church grew to be huge and the CRE grew across the country and around the world, of course problems and challenges became bigger and the wherewithal to deal with those challenges and problems required a great degree of knowledge, wisdom and experience and what I observed time and time again with increasing regularity was a departure from exercising the love of Jesus Christ and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and more of doing what was expedient and necessary to eliminate troublesome situations which oftentimes meant dealing with individuals in hypocritical and even downright evil ways.

During the fifteen or so years of attending Christ Church as a dysfunctional member and not as a full fledged passenger on the bandwagon, I began to come under ever increasing scrutiny to either get on board, conform or suffer the consequences of choosing to remain aloof while keeping arms length between my family and Christ Church elders with whom I found myself increasingly at odds. 

During this time, my wife and I remained heavily involved in Christian ministry within the Moscow community, not only as owners of Bucers Coffeehouse Pub but also within our home where the front door was never locked and students were free to come and go as they pleased, to study in our living room or eat at our table. Our house was always full and we always had boarders. All of these activities and more, we were involved in because of our love for Jesus Christ and for our brothers and sisters in Christ and especially for college students who were away from home and family. I can say with all conviction, that my wife and I were 100% committed to being faithful servants for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whom we both loved with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength. 

I can also say with all conviction of heart that my wife and I did the very best we knew how to raise up our children in the ways of the Lord. Were we perfect in doing so, of course not, but I can say with all confidence that we gave our hearts, minds and souls to taking care of our children, to giving them childhoods with rich and fun memories while making every effort to protect them from the pitfalls and dangers of this broken world. We even homeschooled our kids because we wanted to protect them from the evils of the world, yet ironically, the evils of the world found their way into the bedroom of my teenage daughter. 

Even now as I contemplate what took place only feet from our bedroom, the tears flow from my eyes and my breaths become gasps of grief and I mourn and lament, knowing that my daughter will have to live with such filthy memories from her youth. I know what she's going through because I've been there and I've lived through it. It was different though for her, because when she finally told us what had been occurring within our home, we believed her, we embraced her, we loved her, we supported and we grieved with her. 

That was something I never experienced as a little boy who was sexually abused. Nobody comforted me, nobody helped me work through the trauma, nobody believed me and now as I share what I've never shared with anyone, the tears flow and my heart is sad, yet, I know with all confidence that ever since I was a little innocent boy, even though my own parents couldn’t care for the wounds inflicted by my perverted uncle, I know God did and has and will continue to heal my wounds and take care of me until the day I pass from this life to next and even into all eternity and He will make all things new again. 

I’m sure many of you may be thinking, what really happened to cause the breakup of our marriage of thirty-two years? It’s been ten years now since Pat and I separated and eventually divorced. I’ve never talked about what happened between us in a public forum and I’m not quite sure how far to go with this but I do think its important to talk about for the sake of the greater good of perhaps helping others gain clarity and even perhaps comfort from knowing that perhaps their concerns and intuitions are indeed valid.

Troubles began to escalate to an intermittently intolerable level between me, Doug and the church elders shortly after moving to Moscow from Lewiston in the year 2000 to be closer to the Moscow Christ Church community of believers and to our business, Bucers Coffeehouse Pub. Sometime around early 2004, we made a decision to quietly begin extracting ourselves from the Moscow community to begin a new life in the Couer d Alene, Idaho area. 

I was a serial entrepreneur and figured we would start a new life and new business there. My primary goal in moving was to get out from the under constant pressure from Doug to get with the program and join the club, lock, stock and barrel but that was something I wasn't about to do. Given the circumstances, it would have been like giving up my masculinity and the authority of my home to a person who had gone from being someone I respected and was proud to call my friend to being a mega maniac and control freak.

So, by the grace of God, we were able to secretly sell our mansion in the historic section of Moscow for significantly more money than we paid for it and it was accomplished without listing it or anyone even knowing that we sold it. The family that purchased it even agreed to allow us to live in the home for year while we worked out the rest of the details of our move. The next step was to quietly sell Bucers without listing it and without any public fanfare. It was at this stage of the plan that Pat began to act rather oddly in that whenever we would find a buyer which wasn't all that difficult, she would find excuses not to sell. 

Eventually, she confessed to me that she didn't want to sell Bucers and she wanted to figure out a way to move to CDA while also keeping an apartment in Moscow so that we could run Bucers, while also starting a new business up North. So, because both our names were on the business papers as partners, I couldn't sell without her consent, so, I put money down for the purchase of an office/apartment building downtown to live in, so that we could commute between CDA and Moscow. For me, this was a compromise because I really wanted to get out of Moscow but Pat was now coming out of the closet with her adamancy to remain in Moscow and I was between a rock and hard place.

In the meantime, having been a part of the Christ Church/Wilson community in one capacity or another since 1976, I was always searching and studying the scriptures as a check and balance regarding the Wilson teachings. 

As concerns and conflicts began to become increasingly apparent over the years and so much more so as the CRE grew, I began to come to the conclusion that perhaps this Christian movement had evolved into a cult like religious organisation that claimed the name of Christ but was gradually drifting away from tenants of faith as they had been preserved and passed down through the centuries. It all became clear to me as I was sitting in church one Sunday and I asked myself if the Holy Spirit was really here with us. I am a man who follows my heart and my intuition and I've been that way since I was a little boy, so I couldn't ignore what my heart was telling me. 

In the meantime, we were somewhere in the midst of dealing with the fallout of our daughter’s sexual abuse. ‘I’m not going to discuss the details of how that stress contributed to our breakup. Why? Because to do so would in no way be loving, kind, gentle or considerate of the wife of my youth from whom I am now estranged. 

Shortly after I came to the realisation that Christ Church was what I would consider to be a cult and not the true Church that Jesus Christ founded on the earth two thousand years ago, I met a professor of ancient Christianity from Oxford who was hanging out in the Bucers cigar room enjoying a dessert.  I was enjoying a cigar and a beer and I struck up a conversation with the man and after he told me he was a professor of ancient Christianity at Oxford, I asked the question, “What is ancient Christianity?”

It was after my decision to leave Christ Church and attend the Eastern Orthodox Church that the #$%@ hit the fan big time. Again, I'm not going to go into the details other than to say things literally got crazy, insane and intolerable. Meeting with Doug and Peter which I did solely to pacify my wife to try to mend what was quickly falling apart was a last ditch effort out of desperation to try to win my wife back and fix the brokenness. Ultimately meeting with Doug and Peter did just the opposite in that they securely hammered the final nails into the coffin suffocating what life was left in our marriage. 

In the end, that which I feared most occurred and my authority as the head of my household was snatched away. My wife's allegiance was transferred to the church and to the pastor and that is where it remains to this day and enough has been said. Lord have mercy on us all.

Here is a link to a letter I wrote to Doug back in Feb. 2007.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Church Is Now Suffering Through Many Corruptions...

"If even they smash me up, I wilt not have relations with the Constantinople Church while it dwelleth in bad-faith". 

These words came from the heart and mind of St. Martin and the Church of these last days is again embroiled in heresy which requires similar actions such as those displayed by this courageous Saint.   

Our present day Church leaders are cowardly and disgraceful, following after the ways of this world, their flesh and the Evil One, rather than the ways of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Sainted Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome,
Commemorated on April 14
 Saint Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome, was a native of the Tuscany region of Italy. He received a fine education and entered into the clergy of the Roman Church. After the death of Pope Theodore I (642-649), Martin was chosen to succeed him. 

At this time the peace of the Church was disturbed by the Monothelite heresy (the false doctrine that in Christ there is only one will. He has a divine, and a human will). The endless disputes of the Monothelites with the Orthodox took place in all levels of the population. Even the emperor Constans (641-668) and Patriarch Paul of Constantinople (641-654) were adherents of the Monothelite heresy. The emperor Constans II published the heretical “Pattern of Faith” (Typos), obligatory for all the population. In it all further disputes were forbidden. 
The heretical “Pattern of Faith” was received at Rome in the year 649. St Martin, a firm supporter of Orthodoxy, convened the Lateran Council at Rome to condemn the Monothelite heresy. At the same time St Martin sent a letter to Patriarch Paul, persuading him to return to the Orthodox confession of faith. The enraged emperor ordered the military commander Olympius to bring St Martin to trial. But Olympius feared the clergy and the people of Rome who had descended upon the Council, and he sent a soldier to murder the holy hierarch. When the assassin approached St Martin, he was blinded. The terrified Olympius fled to Sicily and was soon killed in battle. 
In 654 the emperor sent another military commander, Theodore, to Rome. He accused St Martin of being in secret correspondence with the enemies of the Empire, the Saracens, and of blaspheming the Most Holy Theotokos, and of uncanonically assuming the papal throne. 
Despite the proofs offered by the Roman clergy and laity of St Martin’s innocence, the military commander Theodore with a detachment of soldiers seized St Martin by night and took him to Naxos, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. St Martin spent an entire year on this almost unpopulated island, suffering deprivation and abuse from the guards. Then they sent the exhausted confessor to Constantinople for trial. 
They carried the sick man on a stretcher, but the judges callously ordered him to stand up and answer their questions. The soldiers propped up the saint, who was weakened by illness. False witnesses came forward slandering the saint and accusing him of treasonous relations with the Saracens. The biased judges did not even bother to hear the saint’s defense. In sorrow he said, “The Lord knows what a great kindness you would show me if you would deliver me quickly over to death.” 
After such a trial they brought the saint out in tattered clothes to a jeering crowd. They shouted, “Anathema to Pope Martin!” But those who knew the holy Pope was suffering unjustly, withdrew in tears. Finally the sentence was announced: St Martin was to be deposed from his rank and executed. They bound the half-naked saint with chains and dragged him to prison, where they locked him up with thieves. These were more merciful to the saint than the heretics. 
In the midst of all this the emperor went to the dying Patriarch Paul and told him of the trial of St Martin. He turned away from the emperor and said, “Woe is me! This is another reason for my judgment.” He asked that St Martin’s torments be stopped. The emperor again sent a notary and other persons to the saint in prison to interrogate him. The saint answered, “Even if they cripple me, I will not have relations with the Church of Constantinople while it remains in its evil doctrines.” The torturers were astonished at the confessor’s boldness, and they commuted his death sentence to exile at Cherson in the Crimea. 
There the saint died, exhausted by sickness, hunger and deprivations on September 16, 655. He was buried outside the city in the Blachernae church of the Most Holy Theotokos, and later the relics of the holy confessor Martin were transferred to Rome. 
The Monothelite heresy was condemned at the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 680.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Attempts of Ico­no­clasts to Les­sen The Glory of the Queen of Hea­ven;They are put to shame. By Fr. Serap­him Rose

After the third Ecu­me­ni­cal Coun­cil chri­sti­ans in Con­stan­ti­nople and in other pla­ces began more fer­vently hasten to the inter­ces­sions of the Mot­her of God and their hopes in Her inter­ces­sions were not vain. She mani­fe­sted Her help to innu­me­rable sick people, help­less people and those in mis­fortune. 

Many times she appea­red as defen­der of Con­stan­ti­nople against outward ene­mies, once even showing in visible fas­hion to St. Andrew the Fool for Christ Her won­drous Pro­tection over the people who were praying at night in the Temple of Blachernae.

The Queen of Hea­ven gave victory in batt­les to the Byzan­tine Emper­ors, which is why they had the custom to take with them in their campaigns Her Icon of Hodi­gi­tria (Guide). She strengt­he­ned asce­tics and zea­lots of Chri­stian life in their battle against human pas­sions and weak­nes­ses. 

She enligh­te­ned and instructed the Fat­hers and Tea­chers of the Church ’ inclu­ding St. Cyril of Ale­xan­dria him­self when he was hesi­tat­ing to ack­now­ledge the inno­cence and san­ctity of St. John Chryso­stom. The Most Pure Vir­gin pla­ced hymns in the mouths of the com­po­sers of church hymns, some­ti­mes making renow­ned sin­gers out of the untalen­ted who had no gift of song, but who were pious labo­rers, such as St. Roma­nus the Sweet-Singer (the Melo­dist). 

Is it there­fore sur­pri­sing that Chri­sti­ans strove to mag­nify the name of their con­stant Inter­ces­sor? In Her honor feasts were establis­hed, won­drous songs were dedi­ca­ted to her and her Ima­ges were revered.

The malice of the prince of this world armed the sons of apost­asy once more to raise battle against Imma­nuel and His Mot­her in this same Con­stan­ti­nople, which reve­red now as Ephe­sus had pre­viously, the Mot­her of God as its Inter­ces­sor. Not daring at first to speak openly against the Cham­pion Gene­ral, they wis­hed to les­sen Her glo­ri­fi­ca­tion by for­bid­ding the vene­ra­tion of the Icons of Christ and His saints, cal­ling this idol-worship. 

The Mot­her of God now also strengt­he­ned zea­lots of piety in the battle for the vene­ra­tion of Ima­ges, mani­festing many signs from Her Icons and hea­ling the seve­red hand of St. John of Dama­scus who had writ­ten in defence of the Icons.

The per­secu­tion against the vene­ra­tors of Icons and Saints ended again in the victory and tri­umph of Ort­ho­doxy, for the vene­ra­tion given to the Icons ascends to those who are depi­cted in them; and the holy ones of God are vene­ra­ted as fri­ends of God for the sake of the Divine grace which dwelt in them in accor­dance with the words of the Psalm: “Most pre­cious to me are Thy fri­ends.” The Most Pure Mot­her of God was glo­ri­fied with spe­cial honor in hea­ven and on earth, and she even in the days of the mock­ing of the holy Icons mani­fe­sted through them so many won­drous mira­c­les that even today we remem­ber them with con­tri­tion. 

The hymn “In Thee All Cre­a­tion Rejoi­ces, 0 Thou Who Art Full of Grace,” and the Icon of the Three Hands remind us of the hea­ling of St. John Dama­s­cene before this Icon; the depi­ction of the Iveron Icon of the Mot­her of God reminds us of the mira­culous deli­ve­rance from ene­mies by this Icon, which had been thrown in the sea by a widow who was unable to save it.

No per­secu­tions against those who vene­ra­ted the Mot­her of God and all that is bound up with the memory of Her could les­sen the love of Chri­sti­ans for their Inter­ces­sor. The rule was establis­hed that every series of hymns in the Divine ser­vi­ces should end with a hymn or verse in honor of the Mot­her of God (the so-called “Theo­tokia”). Many times in the year Chri­sti­ans in all cor­ners of the world gat­her toget­her in church, as before they gat­he­red toget­her, to pra­ise Her, to thank Her for the bene­fa­ctions She has shown and to beg mercy.

But could the adver­s­ary of Chri­sti­ans, the devil, who goeth about roa­ring like a lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8), remain an indif­fe­rent specta­tor to the glory of the Imma­cu­late One? Could he ack­now­ledge him­self as defe­a­ted, and cease to wage war­fare against the truth through men who do his will? 

And so, when all the uni­verse reso­un­ded with the good news of the Faith of Christ, when eve­rywhere the name of the Most Holy One was invo­ked, when the earth was fil­led with chur­ches, when the hou­ses of Chri­sti­ans were ador­ned with Icons depi­cting her, then there appea­red and began to spread a new false tea­ching about the Mot­her of God. This false tea­ching is dan­gerous in that many can­not imme­di­a­tely under­stand to what degree it under­mi­nes the true vene­ra­tion of the Mot­her of God.

The Nesto­rian Her­esy and The Third Ecu­me­ni­cal Council

When all those who had dared to speak against the san­ctity and purity of the Most Holy Vir­gin Mary had been redu­ced to silence, an attempt was made to destroy Her vene­ra­tion as Mot­her of God. 

In the 5th cen­tury the Arch­bis­hop of Con­stan­ti­nople, Nesto­rius, began to preach that of Mary had been born only the man Jesus, in Whom the Divi­nity had taken abode and dwelt in Him as in a temple. At first he allowed his pres­byter Anast­a­sius and then he him­self began to teach openly in church that one should not call Mary “Theo­tokos, since She had not given birth to the God-Man. He con­si­de­red it deme­a­ning for him­self to wors­hip a child wrap­ped in swad­dling clo­t­hes and lying in a manger.

Such ser­mons evo­ked a uni­ver­sal dis­tur­bance and une­ase over the purity of faith, at first in Con­stan­ti­nople and then eve­rywhere else where rumors of the new tea­ching spread. St. Pro­clus, the disciple of St. John Chryso­stom’ who was then Bis­hop of Cyzi­cus and later Arch­bis­hop of Con­stan­ti­nople, in the pre­sence of Nesto­rius gave in church a ser­mon in which he con­fes­sed the Son of God born in the flesh of the Vir­gin, Who in truth is the Theo­tokos (Bir­t­h­gi­ver of God), for alre­ady in the womb of the Most Pure One, at the time of Her con­cep­tion, the Divi­nity was uni­ted with the Child con­cei­ved of the Holy Spi­rit; and this Child, even though He was born of the Vir­gin Mary only in His human nature, still was born alre­ady true God and true man.

Nesto­rius stub­bornly refu­sed to change his tea­ching, saying that one must distingu­ish between Jesus and the Son of God, that Mary should not be cal­led Theo­tokos, but Chri­sto­tokos (Bir­t­h­gi­ver of Christ), since the Jesus Who was born of Mary was only the man Christ (which sig­ni­fies Mes­siah, ano­in­ted one), like to God’s ano­in­ted ones of old, the prop­hets, only sur­pas­sing them in ful­l­ness of com­mu­nion with God. The tea­ching of Nesto­rius thus con­sti­tu­ted a denial of the whole eco­nomy of God, for if from Mary only a man was born, then it was not God Who suf­fe­red for us, but a man.

St. Cyril, Arch­bis­hop of Ale­xan­dria, fin­ding out about the tea­ching of Nesto­rius and about the church disor­ders evo­ked by this tea­ching in Con­stan­ti­nople, wrote a let­ter to Nesto­rius, in which he tried to per­su­ade him to hold the tea­ching which the Church had con­fes­sed from its foun­da­tion, and not to intro­duce anyt­hing novel into this tea­ching. In addi­tion, St. Cyril wrote to the clergy and people of Con­stan­ti­nople that they should be firm in the Ort­ho­dox faith and not fear the per­secu­tions by Nesto­rius against those who were not in agre­e­ment with him. St. Cyril also wrote infor­m­ing of eve­ryt­hing to Rome, to the holy Pope Celestine, who with all his flock was then firm in Orthodoxy.

St. Celestine for his part wrote to Nesto­rius and cal­led upon him to preach the Ort­ho­dox faith, and not his own. But Nesto­rius remai­ned deaf to all per­su­a­sion and replied that what he was prea­ching was the Ort­ho­dox faith, while his oppo­nents were her­e­tics. St. Cyril wrote Nesto­rius again and com­po­sed twelve anat­he­mas, that is, set forth in twelve para­graphs the chief dif­fe­ren­ces of the Ort­ho­dox tea­ching from the tea­ching prea­ched by Nesto­rius, ack­now­led­ging as excom­mu­ni­ca­ted from the Church eve­ry­one who should reject even a single one of the para­graphs he had composed.

Nesto­rius rejected the whole of the text com­po­sed by St. Cyril and wrote his own expo­si­tion of the tea­ching which he prea­ched, likewise in twelve para­graphs, giving over to anat­hema (that is, excom­mu­ni­ca­tion from the Church) eve­ry­one who did not accept it. The dan­ger to purity of faith was increa­sing all the time. St. Cyril wrote a let­ter to Theo­do­sius the Youn­ger, who was then reig­ning, to his wife Eudo­cia and to the Emperor’s sister Pul­che­ria, entre­at­ing them likewise to con­cern them­sel­ves with ecc­lesi­a­sti­cal mat­ters and restrain the heresy.

It was deci­ded to con­vene an Ecu­me­ni­cal Coun­cil, at which hie­rar­chs, gat­he­red from the ends of the world, should decide whet­her the faith prea­ched by Nesto­rius was Ort­ho­dox. As the place for the coun­cil, which was to be the Third Ecu­me­ni­cal Coun­cil, they chose the city of Ephe­sus, in which the Most Holy Vir­gin Mary had once dwelt toget­her with the Apostle John the The­o­lo­gian. St. Cyril gat­he­red his fel­low bis­hops in Egypt and toget­her with them tra­vel­led by sea to Ephe­sus. From Antioch over­land came John, Arch­bis­hop of Antioch, with the Eastern bis­hops. The Bis­hop of Rome, St. Celestine, could not go him­self and asked St. Cyril to defend the Ort­ho­dox faith, and in addi­tion he sent from him­self two bis­hops and the pres­byter of the Roman Church Phi­lip, to whom he also gave instructions as to what to say. To Ephe­sus there came likewise Nesto­rius and the bis­hops of the Con­stan­ti­nople region, and the bis­hops of Palestine, Asia Minor, and Cyprus.

On the 10th of the calends of July accor­ding to the Roman rec­k­o­ning, that is, June 22, 431, in the Ephe­sian Church of the Vir­gin Mary, the bis­hops assem­b­led, hea­ded by the Bis­hop of Ale­xan­dria, Cyril, and the Bis­hop of Ephe­sus, Mem­non, and took their pla­ces. In their midst was pla­ced a Gospel as a sign of the invi­sible heads­hip of the Ecu­me­ni­cal Coun­cil by Christ Him­self. At first the Sym­bol of Faith which had been com­po­sed by the First and Second Ecu­me­ni­cal Coun­cils was read; then there was read to the Coun­cil the Impe­rial Pro­c­la­ma­tion which was brought by the rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of the Emper­ors Theo­do­sius and Valen­ti­nian, Emper­ors of the Eastern and Western parts of the Empire.

The Impe­rial Pro­c­la­ma­tion having been heard, the rea­ding of docu­ments began, and there were read the Epi­st­les of Cyril and Celestine to Nesto­rius, as well as the replies of Nesto­rius. The Coun­cil, by the lips of its mem­bers, ack­now­led­ged the tea­ching of Nesto­rius to be impious and con­dem­ned it, ack­now­led­ging Nesto­rius as depri­ved of his See and of the pri­est­hood. A decree was com­po­sed con­cer­ning this which was sig­ned by about 160 par­ti­ci­pants of the Coun­cil; and since some of them rep­re­sen­ted also other bis­hops who did not have the opportu­nity to be per­so­nally at the Coun­cil, the decree of the Coun­cil was actu­ally the deci­sion of more than 200 bis­hops, who had their Sees in the various regions of the Church at that time, and they testi­fied that they con­fes­sed the Faith which from all antiquity had been kept in their localities.

Thus the decree of the Coun­cil was the voice of the Ecu­me­ni­cal Church, which clearly expres­sed its faith that Christ, born of the Vir­gin, is the true God Who became man; and inas­much as Mary gave birth to the per­fect Man Who was at the same time per­fect God, She rightly should be reve­red as THEOTOKOS.

At the end of the ses­sion its decree was imme­di­a­tely com­mu­ni­ca­ted to the wai­ting people. The whole of Ephe­sus rejoi­ced when it found out that the vene­ra­tion of the Holy Vir­gin had been defen­ded, for She was espe­ci­ally reve­red in this city, of which She had been a resi­dent during Her eart­hly life and a Patro­ness after Her depar­ture into eter­nal life. The people gre­e­ted the Fat­hers ecsta­ti­cally when in the eve­ning they retur­ned home after the ses­sion. They accom­pa­nied them to their homes with ligh­ted tor­ches and bur­ned incense in the stre­ets. Eve­rywhere were to be heard joy­ful gre­e­tings, the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of the Ever-Virgin, and the pra­i­ses of the Fat­hers who had defen­ded Her name against the her­e­tics. The decree of the Coun­cil was dis­played in the stre­ets of Ephesus.

The Coun­cil had five more ses­sions, on June 10 and 11, July 16, 17, and and August 3 1. At these ses­sions there were set forth, in six canons, mea­su­res for action against those who would dare to spread the tea­ching of Nesto­rius and change the decree of the Coun­cil of Ephesus.

At the com­plaint of the bis­hops of Cyprus against the pre­ten­sions of the Bis­hop of Antioch, the Coun­cil decreed that the Church of Cyprus should pre­serve its inde­pen­dence in Church gover­n­ment, which it had pos­ses­sed from the Apost­les, and that in gene­ral none of the bis­hops should sub­ject to them­sel­ves regions which had been pre­viously inde­pen­dent from them, “lest under the pre­text of pri­est­hood the pride of eart­hly power should steal in, and lest we lose, rui­ning it little by little, the fre­edom which our Lord Jesus Christ, the Deli­ve­rer of all men, has given us by His Blood.”

The Coun­cil likewise con­fir­med the con­dem­na­tion of the Pelagian her­esy, which taught that man can be saved by his own powers wit­hout the neces­sity of having the grace of God. It also deci­ded certain mat­ters of church gover­n­ment, and addres­sed epi­st­les to the bis­hops who had not atten­ded the Coun­cil, anno­un­cing its decrees and cal­ling upon all to stand on guard for the Ort­ho­dox Faith and the peace of the Church. At the same time the Coun­cil ack­now­led­ged that the tea­ching of the Ort­ho­dox Ecu­me­ni­cal Church had been fully and clearly enough set forth in the Nicaeo-Constantinopolitan Sym­bol of Faith, which is why it itself did not com­pose a new Sym­bol of Faith and for­bade in future “to com­pose ano­t­her Faith,” that is, to com­pose other Sym­bols of Faith or make chan­ges in the Sym­bol which had been con­fir­med at the Second Ecu­me­ni­cal Council.

This lat­ter decree was vio­la­ted seve­ral cen­turies later by Western Chri­sti­ans when, at first in sepa­rate pla­ces, and then throug­hout the whole Roman Church, there was made to the Sym­bol the addi­tion that the Holy Spi­rit pro­ce­eds “and from the Son,” which addi­tion has been appro­ved by the Roman Popes from the I I th cen­tury, even though up until that time their pre­de­ces­sors, begin­ning with St. Celestine, firmly kept to the deci­sion of the Coun­cil of Ephe­sus, which was the Third Ecu­me­ni­cal Coun­cil, and ful­fil­led it. Thus the peace which had been destroyed by Nesto­rius sett­led once more in the Church. The true Faith had been defen­ded and false tea­ching accused.

The Coun­cil of Ephe­sus is rightly vene­ra­ted as Ecu­me­ni­cal, on the same level as the Coun­cils of Nicaea and Con­stan­ti­nople which pre­ce­ded it. At it there were pre­sent rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves of the whole Church. Its deci­sions were accep­ted by the whole Church “from one end of the uni­verse to the other.” At it there was con­fes­sed the tea­ching which had been held from Apo­sto­lic times. The Coun­cil did not cre­ate a new tea­ching, but it loudly testi­fied of the truth which some had tried to replace by an inven­tion. It pre­ci­sely set forth the con­fes­sion of the Divi­nity of Christ Who was born of the Vir­gin. The belief of the Church and its jud­g­ment on this question were now so clearly expres­sed that no one could any lon­ger ascribe to the Church his own false rea­so­nings. In the future there could arise other questions deman­ding the deci­sion of the whole Church, but not the question

Sub­sequent Coun­cils based them­sel­ves in their deci­sions on the decrees of the Coun­cils which had pre­ce­ded them. They did not com­pose a new Sym­bol of Faith, but only gave an expla­na­tion of it. At the Third Ecu­me­ni­cal Coun­cil there was firmly and clearly con­fes­sed Pre­viously the Holy Fat­hers had accu­sed those who had slan­de­red the imma­cu­late life of the Vir­gin Mary; and now con­cer­ning those who had tried to les­sen Her honor it was pro­clai­med to all: “He who does not con­fess Imma­nuel to be true God and there­fore the Holy Vir­gin to be Theo­tokos, because She gave birth in the flesh to the Word Who is from God the Fat­her and Who became flesh, let him be anat­hema (sepa­ra­ted from the Church)” (First Anat­hema of St. Cyril of Alexandria).