The Non-Chalcedonians: A few more bits and pieces

The Non- Chalcedonians: A few more bits and pieces

Last Sunday, on the Old Calendar, we commemorated the Holy Fathers of Fourth Ecumenical Council. What is especially remembered on that feast day is the miracle of St. Euphemia. I believe we are all aware that when scrolls of the Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonians were placed in her coffin she was found holding the scroll with the Orthodox confession near her heart. Conversely, that of the Non-Chalcedonians was found at her feet. At this time I would like to add “a few more bits and pieces” to my former articles concerning this issue. This time I will make reference to the Sinai Geronticon and two of our recent saints: Paisius of Athos and Sophrony of Essex.

I will begin first by relating an event from the life of St. Paisius. Once, two atheists who were studying in Thessalonica went to visit the saint. They had heard about him, and considering him to be a fraud, they decided that they would pay him a visit and show him up. So they went through the process of making the trip. First there is an early morning bus from the city to the sea port of Ouranopoli. From there the boat took them to the sea port of Daphne on the Holy Mountain. Next, they took the bus to the center of Athos and from there the made a short walk to the monastery closest to where St. Paisius lived and where they were able to spend the night. Finally they made the twenty minute walk to his house where he lived as a hermit. When they reached his house it was twilight and they saw that there was a light on in one window and so they rejoiced at finding him there. They went up to the window and looked inside; and what do you think they saw? There was no lamp lit in the room, the light was coming from St. Paisius himself! They were converted on the spot. St. Paisius was shining with the Uncreated Light.

I will add to this a word from St. Sophrony. I once asked a close spiritual child of his if Father ever said anything about the Non-Chalcedonians? In answer he commented, “Father Sophrony used to say, ‘Unless you believe that Christ is fully God and fully man in the Orthodox sense you cannot experience the Uncreated Light and they [the Non-Chalcedonians] do not have this in their tradition.’”

I had mentioned the incident above in a sermon, and someone who heard sent me the following from the Sinai Gerontiicon:

This is the witness of the god-fearing Abba Zosimus and the vision that accompanied it. Abba Zosimus was a wandering foreigner with a pure soul and upright character. He was even deemed worthy of sojourning with the venerable Peter and holding fast to the untainted faith. Zosimus told me that after living at Raitho and Mount Sinai with the Orthodox fathers, he left and journeyed to Jerusalem. He had grown to love life in the Holy Land and was constantly coming and going, seeking a place to settle. He came at last to Bethel, where Jacob the Patriarch had seen the vision of the ladder, and there he found favor with the caretaker of the place. The monk begged Zosimus incessantly to stay with him and promised that he could guarantee him a place of peace unlike any other. Abba Zosimus told him truthfully that he could not stay, for he had no communion with the dissenters of Chalcedon. But the monk insisted and promised that in that isolated place no one would give him trouble on that account. He said, “Stay here. You will sing the psalter with me and care for this place.”

Zosimus had almost been won over by these allurements when one night he had a dream: He saw Jacob the Patriarch, dressed in white, solemn and brooding, walking about the place. He was dressed in a cloak with a rod in his hand. He drew near and said, “How can you, one who has communion with the Orthodox, consider dwelling here? Do not forsake your faith for me, but flee these renegades as quickly as you can, and [128] you will lack neither peace nor anything else you require.” So Zosimus left and remained steadfast in good works and the Orthodox faith till the end of his days.*

Now to conclude I can only add the little prayer we see at the end of our Vespers and Matins services: Establish, O God, the holy Orthodox Faith and Orthodox Christians unto the ages of ages. Amen!

*No reference to the quote is being given as the text is in the process of being translated and hopefully will be ready by Pentecost 2021 (for info see: