If you are in Fr. Demetrios Carellas’ email group, you will have noticed a four-part presentation of interviews by Fr. Ioannis Drongitis from October 3rd to October 7th. These reveal, to the English-speaking world, this priest who was not known before but we now hear boldly and “as one having authority” (cf. Matthew 7:29) confessing the truth of the spiritual matters on which many bishops and priests remain absent, even though this is the definitive spiritual battle of these days. Below you will read comments from those emails from Papa Demetri that introduces each part of the interview and then the transcript from the interview. At the end of the article, we offer you a small biography about Fr. Ioannis. To receive the spiritual nourishment of Papa Demetri’s daily emails, subscribe here.
BIOGRAPHY: Fr. John Drongitis draws his descent from the village of Banato on Zakynthos Island, Greece. As of 2010, he is the rector of the small chapel of St. Demetrius in Plaka, Athens (near the Acropolis), where he serves the Divine Liturgy every morning at dawn. He is the spiritual father of the women’s monastery of Sts. Theodores, Aroania, Greece. He was one of eight priests who, in 2014, sent a letter to the archbishop of Athens regarding the “pride parades” and proposed an Orthodox response including special vigils, prayer, catechism, and the preaching of repentance. Fr. Ioannis is a married priest.
Below is the interview. Read it. Study his words. The confession he offers to the world through these interviews is sufficient to arm every Orthodox Christian to do battle against the social pressures in the fight to remain faithful to the Lord and resist the demons today with their new temptations.
Watch the four parts on YouTube (turn on closed captioning in video settings to follow english subtitles):
—From the Editor.
Father Ioannis Drongitis answers the questions posed by Justino Carneiro concerning the theology of the Orthodox Church with regard to the current epidemic and the imputations of scientism and of the worldly spirit.
Part I: Unspoiled theology or theology of infection?
PAPA DEMETRIOS CARELLAS: In the beginning [of Part I], we see that Fr. Ioannis places God above all in his life. He notes that his meeting with the small group of Portuguese faithful was totally unplanned, and that it was definitely the providence of God that brought them together... Pay extra careful attention as to how Fr. Ioannis describes the great mystery of the Divine Liturgy... Say a small prayer to the Lord Jesus—begging Him to open your heart to the “guidance and strength” that God has provided for us through His servant, who has been “unknown and hidden” during this turbulent time in our Church.
JUSTINO CARNEIRO: Father Ioannis, in order to clarify some doubts of the Portuguese Orthodox community, I would like to ask you some questions. In general, we intend to know what is the theological position of the Orthodox Church with regard to infectious diseases. First of all, can infectious diseases be transmitted inside of an Orthodox temple by way of the liturgical implements, the Holy Icons, the Sacred Relics, and by the contact or proximity of the faithful between each other? Are sanitary measures necessary inside the temple in order to prevent contagion? Are distancing and the use of masks, for instance, acceptable measures?
FR. IOANNIS DRONGITIS: To begin with, apart from any worldly politeness, I have to tell you that I am really glad for both speaking with you now and mostly because I know that this is addressed to the Portuguese brothers, with whom we have met without having planned it. We have created somehow a synaxis and we speak, we communicate and we share in the teachings of the Saints, without having planned it, without this having been preceded by any missionary work on paper. And this is the most beautiful thing, that God has formed this. Clearly. And we are greatly moved, at least I am, but also other people, of whom I hear, they are also moved. Because when God constitutes something, it is like the liturgical synaxis. This is God’s activity. To meet with each other, to speak about these things is His own initiative. As it happens in the Liturgy, the same thing happens in this case; this happens by God’s initiative. And our meeting is happening by God’s initiative, too. And for this I have the certainty and I say it not because I’m relying on my own perspective, but on the judgement (which is the theological notion) and blessing of my Elder who sealed this conversation; and through his judgement we have this assurance. This is the first thing I have to tell you.
The second is that all these things that you mention in the first question are too many. For sure we cannot fully cover them. I also agree that what we seek today is the theology of these matters since the theology is either silenced or misused. And I think that we don’t need to discover anything since everything has been said by the Saints. We just have to enter this reservoir, and above all enter the liturgical body, and there accept the words which are alive in the liturgical body. All the words, the theological ones, exist within the liturgical body, within the Liturgy, in the services of the Church, exist in the ecclesiastical life, and are being uttered. And for us, what is needed is to become receptive; and we become receptive either because God wants it this way, even if we are unclean, as in this case, or because the first grace has preceded, which is called purifying grace, as our Saints say and as Saint Joseph the New says: purifying grace comes first and then divine knowledge comes. Therefore, what we have to do is to accept these words in whichever way they have come to us and to utter them and for them to be uttered in the Church because many times worldly words and worldly manners enter the Church, mostly worldly methodology, and by these we speak. And when we speak like this then we miss our goal and may God protect us from missing our goal, neither now nor ever.
The Liturgy is Whole and is a Mystery.
So, entering a bit the question I will tell you that in order to answer it, it would be enough for us to have faith, simple faith outside of gnoseological conditions. This would be enough and it is enough, for those who have sure faith this is enough. This doesn’t exclude the necessity of formulations. It just happens the same thing as with the New Testament. The formulation exists and is necessary in order for the counterfeits of experience and of faith not to happen. Or for us to give a testimony of the life of the Church.
From this point of view, I will tell you that for us to enter our subject we will look at what is happening with man. We will start from anthropology with one proposition, let’s say. We know that man is neither body alone nor soul alone. As the Patristic word says, man is the “complex of both.” So, reckoned as the complex of both, he always remains united. It is not divided, only temporarily with death. But again it will be united, the mystery remains a mystery of unity.
So, the same happens with the Divine Liturgy. The Divine Liturgy is this complex, it is the liturgy of the whole body and this body is held together in Christ, on Christ. Christ is the head of the body, He Himself operates the joining together and the Holy Spirit is the life within this body, His energies are all those sanctifying energies which accomplish the incorporation of the members into the body, that is to say, of the people, the faithful within this body. Thus, the Liturgy is the mystery of the body and this body is not divided. It is the whole.
And the divine Eucharist is a liturgical event, a liturgical action, a sacramental action of the body. We do not have superior or inferior states in the Liturgy. We do not have divisions. To begin with, no difference exists between the liturgical action of sanctification from above and the whole liturgy. We do not have, accordingly, a crowding at any moment. We have a synaxis. We have the synaxis: the manifestation and the incorporation with gradations, degrees of ascent, successive entrances into the mystery, with charismatic states, with consecutive ascents, degrees and successive grades of incorporation into the body. These happen. What to say? We are unable to speak about the Mystery, really. What happens in the Divine Liturgy, we are unable to “catch up to it,” throughout our entire life. We often say this as ministers because we understand that it is difficult to live integrally the whole Liturgy. Only as much as God wills it can someone live this experience. Nonetheless, we do know that these exist, these ascents, degrees and grades of incorporation. And this happens. So we cannot say that the conjoining of the body in the Divine Liturgy or in worship (which is something different, but a mystery of the body as well), can be considered a crowding (like it was with the “crowding” at Asia Minor, as it is said, of the Greeks at Smyrna, where they crowded; or, I don't know, at a supermarket; or at Ermou where they go for shopping at Monastiraki here in Athens). So it cannot be considered as something like this, of course. It is a mystery. Neither can we isolate the moment of the change of the Holy Gifts from the Liturgy of the body [i.e., our physical presence, along with those of the other faithful, in the service of the Divine Liturgy]. The whole synaxis walks towards the communion of the Holy Gifts; but this is a Liturgy, it is a mystagogy of all the body. It is a mystery considered as a whole. It has as its center the reception of the Holy Gifts, for those that are able to commune; but we all move in that direction, the movements of all the body; no distinction is considered.
So surely we cannot say that somebody may get “infected,” or get a virus in the Divine Liturgy because evidently this means that somebody can also get a virus at the moment of partaking in the Holy Gifts. This is not only rationally out of place but it is sacramentally and theologically nonsensical, something that should not even be discussed. It is the mystery of the body. It is the mystery of the incorporation of all in Christ, which can have a higher point of incorporation during the moment of Communion, but the whole conjoining is sacramental, it is a manifestation, it is the testimony each time of the incorporation in the body of Christ. This is what is being manifested in the Liturgy for all of us, and many other things, of course, that we do not have the time to speak now. Not to extend ourselves too much we will stop at this point. Therefore, it is completely out of place to speak about infection in the Divine Liturgy.
We need to experience the Divine Liturgy.
We can understand this from a political view, from a rationalistic view, that is to say, the way one thinks in these domains, but it is not even permissible to debate theologically about this, because this means: firstly that we have complete lack of faith in the facts, and [secondly] that we do not have any existential participation in the Divine Liturgy.
The Church, being an icon, makes infection impossible.
Also if we as priests say this [infection can occur during the Liturgy], we demonstrate our estrangement from the ecclesiastical body. We have a serious form of clericalism in the Church if we think something like this. Why? Because evidently we consider that we perform the Mystery alone, that we do it somehow secretly ourselves. We may close the Beautiful Gate but this is only a function and a symbol, essential of course, a realistic symbol of the supernatural events at that specific moment, which are not absent from the rest of the Divine Liturgy. We have nonetheless a greater descent of God, a more specific appearance of the divine energies at the moment of the change of the Holy Gifts. So this is symbolized, it is iconized, the way we understand “icon” to mean in the Divine Liturgy, by the closing of the gates. Still the mystery is accomplished either way.
We have the presence of the Holy Spirit Who Himself energizes and holds together the whole institution of the Church. Right? He holds it together, joins the body together and He is present and acts. We have saints and also those who are not saints yet and have experienced the presence and the appearance of the grace of the Holy Spirit, of His graces, we should say, of the energies; because it is not only one, of the Holy Spirit, not only in the Liturgy, but also in Matins and in all of these preparations we have for the Divine Liturgy. We have serious experiences from the saints on this issue and from simple priests who have experienced these things. Therefore, it is—I was going to say blasphemous any approach such as this—it is unthinkable at the moment the body of Christ is being formed, the Church, to have an infection. Do you understand?
It is like we say—we say it to Panagia: “In thee, O pure Virgin, have the laws of nature been overcome.” The laws of nature are overcome within the Church too. This is the icon, through the Theotokos. Therefore, it is completely out of place to say something like this. It is out of place and we can explain it in many ways. It is out of place because of the following.
What happens in the Divine Liturgy? We speak about the incarnation of the Logos, about a continuous incarnation of the Logos through the Divine Liturgy; and in this incarnation the faithful are called to participate. The Church is not a society, because sometime our words show this in the Church (that we are a society that sings some songs, some psalms, we get happy, psychologically, we have our own psychological experiences) but this does not have any relationship with the Church which is the greatest mystery in the world. The highest peak of the world is the Divine Liturgy. We cannot speak this language; it is completely outside of the experience of the Church something like this. What happens then? What happens is that all these participants are identified with the body of Christ, above all: those who commune; but through the uncreated energies, the body is manifested also for those people that are, under obedience, outside of the reception of the Holy Gifts. They have also other grades of communion and another form of communion with the Logos. We have, thus, this identification, if this term is permissible, between the very body and blood of Christ, and the Church. We have this communion, this incorporation. The Church is this body; it is the body of Christ. When I commune of the body of Christ, I commune of Christ Himself, of His deified human nature. Not only do I commune with Christ and then I leave, I am also united to the Church. My union is ontological, it is real and realistic at the same time. It is not a “symbol.” I am united to Christ, which means that I am united to the Church. This is His body. I partake of the body and blood of Christ, meaning that I partake of Christ Himself and of His body simultaneously.
Do you understand how blind it is to say that when I partake I do not commune [of the Lord’s body and blood] and when I am with the body [i.e., my body] I get sick? An issue like this is never raised. It is completely non-theological. It is like we do not believe at all in our saints, not only in their experiences, but also in their teachings: Saint Maximos and all the big saints like Saint Dionysios the Areopagite, Saint John of Kronstadt, in all the saints that spoke about this, Saint Nicholas Planas and all similar saints. Therefore, it cannot be conceived something like this. And why can it not be conceived?
Corrupt nature is overcome, not done away, in the Liturgy.
Let’s take it a bit further. Where are the microbes? What do we have in the Liturgy? What happens there? Do the microbes go away, which means that nature goes away too? Don’t we go with our nature? Doesn’t our nature in its integrity participate in the Divine Liturgy? This would be heretical. So in the Liturgy we have a concelebration, a crucified encounter and a crucified doxological exclamation, a co-Liturgy of the natural and the supernatural, the rational and the superrational, the human and the divine, the created and the uncreated. We have this co-Liturgy and in this co-Liturgy we cannot say that nature is absent. Wherever nature exists, it exists as it is. So do microbes exist in Divine Liturgy? To put it better, do microbes exist inside the temple? On the icons? On the liturgical implements? On the priest? On the faithful? Everywhere? All of this is natural and everything else is natural as well. What happens in this case? Does nature depart and go away? No, of course. Nature does not leave from the Liturgy. It is present there. Accordingly, do the microbes leave from the temple? No, they do not. And illnesses? Illnesses are also there. We bear the illnesses on us. But what happens?
Due to this blending, to this degree of incorporation in the body of Christ, due to this union of the body and the manifestation, the eschatological manifestation of the body: we say that the Divine Liturgy is the eschatological manifestation, the manifestation of the eschaton in the present, in the created world (on the level of the created). So the microbes remain, nature remains. But what happens? They are inactive. They are limits of nature which are conquered. They remain inactive, their energy will return when we leave, when the degree of incorporation changes, because everything happens on the created level and it remains. But we have a peak of this incorporation in the Divine Liturgy. We have a manifestation of the eschatological incorporation. We have so many mysteries. Where the mystery is ministered (the Church), as Saint Maximos says: there is the holy bridal bed, in which the soul and God become one. In this blessed and purest bridal bed, we have this divine coupling between soul and God, between man and God. So we have the body which is united in an unknown and immaculate way. This, then, is what happens there. Nature does not depart. It is also present, but it is inactive. It is like time. We say that we take time. This does not mean that time stops existing for us. It means that it is overcome. In the same way, nature is overcome on the level of corruption. In the sense of transmission of infections, this is something completely out of place.
Let’s say that we serve the Liturgy and an evildoer enters the Altar and on the Holy Table where the Holy Gifts are placed. He pours, let’s say, an infectious liquid. I don’t dare to speak about something like this. As we say in the demotic expression, “he tries to dirty the divine things” and so he throws something entirely out of place. Or let’s say I am not careful and I serve the Liturgy with moldy bread. Or, like Saint Nicholas Planas did, I use poison instead of wine. What will happen? Will this stop being a poison? Will the mold be absorbed [i.e., and abolished] by the divine energy? This is heretical. The mold will stay there but it will be completely inactive. We have many examples, not only, but you told me to speak theologically so now let’s not mention the examples from the saints, we will speak theologically. Thus, corruption will remain, but the elements of corruption will remain inactive. Which Orthodox person can say that a moldy bread after the change can cause, let’s say, stomach problems? Which Orthodox person can say that this cannot be the body and blood of Christ because it bears this process of corruption in it? That we did not notice. Or when this criminal activity I mentioned takes place, that these stop being the body and blood of Christ? With whatever human way of infection, will this not remain the body and blood of Christ as it is? Will it not convey life and incorruptibility? Do we not say this?
What wrongful assumptions are behind questions such as infection in the Church?
So I believe that in these questions and in these opinions there is an intensely heretical element. There is Docetism. There are elements that annul the decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council. There is a form of Iconoclasm (in reality: not only on the level of the veneration of the icons—I speak about the Divine Liturgy as an icon of the eschaton). The icon is a major matter for the Church. So then, as I told you, many issues are raised here. Let’s say as it happens with the body of Christ. What is the body of Christ? Christ, what is He? He is a divine-human person, we say, one hypostasis. He is God and man: two perfect natures in one person. Two natures each one with its own will. Each nature has its own will and energy. And we have the exchange of properties in the person of Christ. This also happens with His body. As it happens with His very own body, it happens with the body of the Church, when this is manifested in its eschatological fulfillment. Do you understand what it means when we speak about infection? This is as if we say (God forbid): “Who is infected?” The body of Christ is infected? The faithful are the body of Christ. This is His sacramental body and this unity, as Saint Maximos says, is a “unity conceived in trinity,” which God Himself holds together.
Therefore, we have so many nonsensical things here. But if you allow me and if I am not speaking for too long, I will tell you the following (for us who live in the Church this is the main reason): it is unthinkable to separate the body from the Liturgy, whichever way “body” means for Christ Himself and for men. But I will tell you something else which for me goes even beyond this. What do the members of Christ do? Firstly, they have a yearning, we say it in the Liturgy: “with faith and yearning come forward, that we may become sharers in everlasting life.” With yearning we move. What does this yearning do? Saint Maximos says it strikingly, he brought it to a peak: it is a yearning that conquers nature itself. He wonderfully says that “we prefer the truth to nature itself.” The yearning to partake of Holy Communion makes us prefer the truth to this nature itself. For a faithful person it is unthinkable... He would prefer the truth, desire for Christ, the divine eros, as we say, the communion of the Holy Gifts, over this nature and over this life. This is the Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion and so many other things.
If you have any question we can discuss them, because I think that I am speaking too much already.
Part II: Protection from divine love?
PAPA DEMETRIOS CARELLAS: In the second video, there is even more of an underlying presence of the fact that Fr. Ioannis illustrates the great error of using man’s fallen reasoning to express the theology and the teachings of our Holy Orthodox Faith. It saddens him (and me) that the scholasticism, so inherent in the western theology, is being promoted by not a few Orthodox clergy and theologically educated laity.
As a partial answer to the question as to whether or not it is justified (often called “an act of love”) to alter our liturgical practices in worship for the benefit of those that are weak in the Faith, Fr. Ioannis exclaimed: “Weakness can never impose itself on truth. This is completely outside of the understanding and reality of the Church.”
His explanation of the sanctification that takes place during the entire Divine Liturgy, BOTH on the Holy Gifts and us, is awe-inspiring. Every Orthodox clergyman needs to have this true understanding of our Holy Liturgy! And near the end, Fr. Ioannis—from his soul—makes this appeal to all of us: “I entreat [all] to love the Divine Liturgy with all of their soul. And then, all the answers will come; or better, the answers will be given.”
May the All-Holy and Life-giving Spirit open all of our hearts to receive these Spirit-filled words, to nurture both our souls and bodies!
JUSTINO CARNEIRO: With regard to what you said about the degrees of incorporation, both in terms of space and of time—that is to say, inside the temple, outside of the temple, or in the temporal limits of the Liturgy and of the other services—can we say that within these limits the faithful possess immunity and that outside of these limits this immunity is lost?
Scholasticism is behind such a question.
FR. IOANNIS DRONGITIS: I think that this question, inevitable though as it is, which you do well to pose, as you should do so, it is like listening to questions, to seeds of scholasticism that exist in all of us or possibly in other people listening to what we are saying now. I consider this question to be of that kind. I mean that we have to respond in a way that addresses people’s scholasticism. We will not answer but we will show that this is a scholastic question. We will not be avoiding any risk; but firstly we have to show the disease (the disease is, at this moment, what comes out, by this question). We will speak about the limits, the zero-point, the “Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers”, the outside [of the temple], the point a little close to the door or inside the door [of the temple]. So we will start speaking in a way that is not compatible with the Orthodox experience, life and, of course, with theology.
What is certain is that the Divine Liturgy, speaking about the center of worship, is the real, in time and in history, manifestation of the eschaton. In which everything lives eternally and incorruptibly. We have spoken about the relationship between the reign, or let’s say, grace and corruption. I do not think something more should be said about it. But it is pointless to speak with exactitude about these limits. It is understood that man participates, is incorporated in the body of Christ during the Divine Liturgy and worship. Nobody can have in his mind limits like these: Now that I pass through the gate of the temple, I enter this state and now that I leave I have descended. Evidently, the degree of our incorporation reaches its peak and declines. I think it is inappropriate to give an answer for the exact moment of decline. We all understand that what we have within these limits is an iconic manifestation.
Icons (and all matter in the Church’s symbols) communicate grace. How to venerate in Orthodox manner (without scholasticism and without precaution).
And here we are faced with the big issue of the relationship between icon and reality. The icon is a reality, the eschaton is a reality, like the icon that we venerate; what is it? It is a manifestation of the prototype. But what do we have here? There is only a difference in the identity of essence, as we say in theology. We have a difference in the identity of essence, but we have a real manifestation. Matter is full of divine grace. So we venerate it, this matter which is full of divine grace. We venerate the person depicted, the person itself, except for the person’s essence. So we understand that through veneration, for us to be Orthodox, we do not just offer respect, we do not just give honor. But what then? We participate in the person’s grace. We become, through this way of veneration, proportionately and up to a degree, “partakers of the divine nature,” of grace. Isn’t matter full of grace, as we say? Every liturgical material is full of divine grace. Thus, we partake through the icon. Every icon, every depiction is a manifestation of this kind, through which the eschaton becomes present. “Here time is renewed,” as we say in the Church.
So we become too poor and I don’t think that it is necessary to give such an exact answer, not because it does not exist, I think each one understands this by himself. When we commune, when we venerate an icon, we venerate it and what do we do? We pray to God and to the saints for what? Many times, to be cured, right? Does that mean that we can define with timing when therapy occurs and when it ceases? Or when grace comes and leaves? Evidently we experience a descent and a reduction of this unity. Why? Because we are within the limits of createdness. We said this a bit earlier. Do you understand? So, now what should we say? Is it finished as soon as we’ve said “Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers”? Alright, we will leave from the temple. We are members of the body, in varying degrees of incorporation. We are once again within the limits of the created: we will get sick; we will die. You understand what I’m saying, don’t you? This doesn’t change. [Speculation on] the “when exactly” and the “how”—this would truly be a heresy. I think we all understand this, in an Orthodox way. What we are interested in is what is happening, when is the body conjoined, when is it incorporated, when is the incorporation assured, what happens in the incorporation. We are interested in this exchanging of the divine energy, the reception; “that we may become partakers in everlasting life,” incorrupt life. For we speak about a medicine of immortality in the Divine Liturgy. The rest, I think, belongs to scholasticism and we do not need to give an answer in such exact terms; I think the answer is evident.
Let me say something about veneration that I missed earlier. Look, any act of veneration (and mainly towards God), any loving movement in both the divine and human level: we are not afraid to speak about these things. The saints have told us so. Prudery has no place in the Church. Earthly love is a type of divine love, as Saint John of the Ladder says. There is no embarrassment in saying this. Who can move in a loving way towards another person, in a bodily union, with precaution? When you approach with precaution, you move with wariness—on the divine level with lack of faith. Precaution is incomprehensible in our relationship with God. In general, precaution is incomprehensible in love, do you understand? So we cannot go with a covering, with a mask to venerate. This is contrary to veneration, it is the opposite of drawing near, of a relationship, of love with another person So, how can we turn to God with divine yearning, having our face covered to not get sick... from divine grace? This situation exists in the human dimension as well, in which precaution reveals a hesitation, a difficulty of the soul, to put it that way.
Faith and the Miracle of the Divine Liturgy needed especially today.
JUSTINO CARNEIRO: Can we nonetheless say that certain measures (which alter the liturgical practice of the Church) are justified? Including the limitation of the number of those present and the closing of temples? Some like to say this is an expression of the love of the Church for its members and for the world? Not only an expression of love, but also as a condescension towards the weakness in the faith of some of the Church members.
FR. IOANNIS DRONGITIS: Look, weakness can never impose itself on truth. This is completely outside of the understanding and reality of the Church. On the same basis, every weakness, every deficiency, and every passion should be accommodated. The passions are cured in the Church. Man has the time, the way, the energies, the tools, to cure any deficiency, any passion, any weakness, any disease, even towards his faith. If this [lack of faith] exists, we should acknowledge it firstly as a weakness. What is happening now in the Church and, as you inform me, in Portugal, is the fact that there is a disease which is understood as a healthy condition. Do you understand? A perversion has happened. That it is healthy to protect ourselves [i.e., by closing the Churches] and that it is a sick thing for no one to be protected [i.e., with open churches without “precautions”]. A very dangerous heresy exists in the Church. A big evil is taking place right now, you know. Only through God’s energies can it be reversed. On the human level, destruction has been completed; but, fortunately, there is the divine. Disease does not impose itself upon the Church, Justino. It does not. If someone is sick, lovingly and not with arrogance, we take them by the hand, we carry them on our shoulder, as it is portrayed in iconography. We take the sick person and we carry him ourselves. Sickness does not lead us to the divine kingdom, health does. So, this argument is incomprehensible, it is convoluted, it is outside of the Church, it is an evil argument much similar to the argument of the serpent in paradise, Evidently, the closer the Church moves to the end times, the more apparent and strengthened these insidious so-called theories will become which are totally banished from the Church and completely unacceptable.
JUSTINO CARNEIRO: I think this question has been partly answered but I would like to formulate it more precisely. Several individuals state that the idea of an impossibility of contagion, in the Orthodox temple, is an example of superstition, magical thinking or even of a monophysite ecclesiology, according to which, human nature, in its weakness and fragility, would be absorbed in the divine nature. Other people say that miracles are always possible but that they are exceptions to the normal order of things and that, thus, we should not tempt God. What do you have to say about these different opinions?
FR. IOANNIS DRONGITIS: Please allow me to begin with the last question. Firstly, saying that a miracle is an exception in the Divine Liturgy... we have to restrain ourselves in our answer. The Divine Liturgy is the miracle. Miracles do not happen individually in the Divine Liturgy. The presence of the miracle is permanent in the Liturgy. Divine Liturgy is by itself the miracle. It is completely blasphemous to say that we wait somehow for a miracle in the Divine Liturgy. This itself is the miracle! It is the incorporation into Christ. It is the change of both the Holy Gifts and of ourselves. We say it, the priest says the same in one of the prayers. He invokes the grace of the Holy Spirit for yet another reason that I forgot to say, I told you that there are plenty in which we believe that not only are the Holy Gifts sanctified, but the synaxis is sanctified as well. We say “that the good Spirit of Thy grace may rest upon us and upon these Gifts set forth.” To change us all, both the bread and wine and, therefore, the body. We are talking about the incorporation. This is the miracle. It happens in every occasion. There is no other case. Docetism lies here, do you understand? Μonophysitism and all of these distortions exist precisely in this question. So do we consider the miracle to be the exception? Or the divine energy? Is God’s descent an exception?
Listen to me for a moment, that I may say to the brothers in Portugal with all my soul: I entreat them and wish for them to love the Divine Liturgy with all their soul. There, all the answers will come, or, better, all the answers will be given. “In that day you will no longer ask me anything.” The day that we truly enter the Divine Liturgy, all of our questions on this matter will stop. There are no questions. Why? Because, undoubtedly, God is present. He is assuredly present. The flames of grace exist always in the Church. It is evident that the miracle happens permanently. This is the miracle. What is there to say? That we are waiting for the miracle by looking forward, perhaps, to some miracle, as a Greek poet says? These things belong to another situation. We have nothing to wait for, it is already present; in this we participate and we are called to do so.
Concerning the other things you said, magicalness would exist if we believed that viruses disappear, that diseases disappear, that nature disappears or that it is absorbed or ceases to exist. That is where we have magic and docetism, and monophysitism, of all kinds, all these things are there. But nature remains, this is what we said earlier. Nature remains intact. We have a suspension of the process of corruption on the level that we are discussing. It is impossible for a disease to be transmitted on the exact moment life is transmitted; uncorrupted life. At the moment that the eschaton and incorruptibility are iconized. Do you understand? There is no absence of nature. That would cause a problem. No one proclaims there is an absence of nature, absence of diseases. Even the coronavirus is present there if someone has it. But this is the people’s lack of faith and not only of the people.
Clergy do not exclusively have the possibility of high spiritual states, rather they ought to guide all into them.
JUSTINO CARNEIRO: In the conditions of an epidemic, should the participation in Orthodox Christian worship be restricted to the clergy, monks or, in general, to members having acquired a superior spiritual state and a closer contact with God? Is it sufficient for the Church that the Divine Liturgy goes on uninterruptedly in closed monastic communities?
FR. IOANNIS DRONGITIS: Let us entirely reject this notion that clergy and monks have a higher spiritual state than lay members of the Church. Let us dispose of this. To begin with, it is neither theologically nor ecclesiastically justified, nor even in reality something like this exists. We have met people who have gone far beyond such approaches with their life and I do not even want to discuss it. It is like making a division. This is the essence of a totally Western perception of the clergy and monasticism which does not exist in the Orthodox Church. I can understand this, to some extent, as a question because this community, the Portuguese community, let’s say, the majority of which, I think (and this is the beautiful thing) come from either Roman Catholicism, or from philosophical, political or atheistic positions, or from subcultures, etc. So, alright, let’s justify the question but take it and reject it immediately. There is no difference in spirituality. This is like saying that a task (diakonima) within the Church... definitely presupposes an existential, personal participation in grace. That is another issue. Normally, it should happen. If we see it in an Areopagitic way, to put it in this way; or, to explain this to our friends there in Portugal: if we take the book of Saint Dionysios the Areopagite, according to his consideration, the clergy and its grades certainly manifest spiritual states, in principle, as does monasticism, in another way. These things exist, let’s say. But we cannot claim that, in any case, there is a higher spirituality, even if we participated existentially in the names of the liturgical properties of the clergy (for those of us who are clergymen). Again this would not refute the fact that lay members are sanctified, they are deified. All are deified. What do the ministries (diakonies) manifest? That someone may have the precedence, in time, of a sanctifying participation. The liturgical service is for people to be guided, to be initiated into the mysteries with the help of the clergy towards the same direction, if something like this exists. But even if it does not exist, I would say, as we see many times, since God’s grace is alive in the Church and itself constitutes, itself sanctifies, itself guides, it does everything; many times it acts by itself in this, as well. The grace of the Holy Spirit leads the lay members of the Church to a great degree of grace and sanctity. Woe to us if we said the opposite. So, we should make a distinction between what the meaning of a didactic or let’s say, mystagogical gift is in the Church and if this presupposes a difference, let's say, in rank. This should be conceptually clarified.
The Liturgy assumes everyone is in attendance.
Concerning the issue of whether it is sufficient for the Church to perform the sacrifice, the Liturgy, the bloodless sacrifice without the presence of the people: Look, we should maintain a balance, I think, in our answer. The Divine Liturgy is such a broad situation. It is so great and important; and it is evident that the center, its logos, theologically speaking, presupposes the incorporation of men, the presence of men, even of a single one, as we say, who is incorporated in the body—and everything else we said earlier. It is evident that the Liturgy presupposes the presence of laymen in the Church. Still, the Liturgy has an element of sacrifice. It is not the main one... but we cannot say that there is no sacrifice, at the same time. This feature is also included. So when in a period of a pandemic and we serve the Liturgy with closed doors or with a limited number of people, we do something, let’s say, completely outside of the nature of the Liturgy. An element of the Liturgy remains, which is what? It is the sacrifice, the bloodless sacrifice. It is a small element, not the main one. It is not its center. But at that moment only this element exists. So what are we doing? An appeasing sacrifice to God in favor of all the members of the Church. This, of course, we reject as an established practice. There can be no impediments to worship and unity with God. This is not what I mean; neither, of course, are we satisfied with something like this. This would mean (if we accepted it), that we consent to the distortion of the nature of the Liturgy. I just say that at that specific moment remains only one minimal point out of the main of the Divine Liturgy, which, of course, has an entirely different meaning.
JUSTINO CARNEIRO: In the continuity of the answers regarding contagion, can we therefore conclude that it is not possible for something bad to happen to the faithful inside the temple? We know that in the history of the Church there was martyrdom inside the temples or other occasions of people who were murdered in the temple... examples of this kind.
Do “bad” things happen during Liturgy?
FR. IOANNIS DRONGITIS: This is a question as much interesting as it contains a slightly malicious presupposition. We hear it, of course, but I think that it also belongs to the general absurdity of our times. To begin with, as we have already mentioned, nature and history are not absent. On the contrary, the eschaton enters into history. Neither history, nor nature disappear. Neither does time. So these events can obviously happen. Something “bad” may happen. Is it bad, though? This is the difference. That is to say, the transmission of corruption and disease is something different, when the eschatological reality is iconized and made present in history, this is different from the intrusion of history, of violent history, fallen history, during the time that the holy things are being performed. This is something completely different.
By the way, for us, to die or getting killed during the Divine Liturgy is the supreme form of blessing that could happen to someone. Let’s say someone enters and kills us during the Liturgy. This is not considered to be an accident. It is not seen as something bad in the Church. On the contrary, it is the crown, the highest crown that someone can receive. God makes them worthy to die a martyr’s death in the Divine Liturgy. In reality, this is not an example of a chance event. It is an economy that manifests the good will of the Triadic God. It is something completely different [than “bad”]. But you give me the chance to say something. Which is a problem. Many times, all these questions and imputations contain the following: that God is as if He is not a living person. They contain a form of deism in them, somehow. God is somewhere else. He may see, He may watch, but He does not act. This is utterly out of place from every aspect. God is the absolute existence. Of course He has His own will and energy for historical events, for our own actions. Even if there was a possibility of someone catching a microbe in the Church, all such evil sowing [of blasphemy] in our time—this entire evil situation that we are experiencing around us trying to enter into the Church and its theology—will it not find God acting? So, is God not going to act in the Church precisely due to this evil situation? Do you understand me? God is not absent. It is not possible for one to be driven by an evil will and for God not to act. So, right now, there is an evil will and God is acting, God intervenes, and by watching this evil situation God Himself will stop the corrupting energy of these things. But coming back to the issue and to clarify it once and for all: something like this can certainly happen; but for us it is not something bad. It is bad for the world. It is bad for a man who thinks according to a worldly logic. But martyrdom for us is the highest thing.
Look, from an Orthodox perspective, nothing that happens in the Church is considered to be something accidental. It may be hidden from our eyes (being the eyes of imperfect people); but, in any case, it has its meaning and its reason. And this reason is always expressed by a holy man a man that (as we say) is informed unerringly by God about the meaning of the events or about their outcome as well. So, no events or deaths are perceived as accidental. All these things are considered as blessings in the Church. But I can add the following: that in the Church and also in its history, we have conditions of corruption. But corruption in the Church—as it happened, let’s say, with the destruction of the Church of the Theotokos in Constantinople, the Church of the Life-giving Spring—why did this destruction happen? The causes of this destruction were spiritual. The priests and the people had the responsibility for this destruction. They were responsible. The priests stopped serving the Liturgy in a pastoral way: teaching correctly the people, serving the Liturgy in a worthy manner, serving the people the way God wants, ministering the Mysteries and the mystery of the people’s incorporation (to put it this way). They wanted to take advantage of the people in every way possible and so on (which can happen to us in our fallen state). Also, the people found this synaxis and all the things surrounding this gathering as a chance of entertainment, singing, all such things (these distortions) that can happen. When these things do happen, then yes, destruction can happen. A perdition of such character may happen.
The Saints are needed to interpret the events of our times.
But there we need our senses to be clear, we need the Saints of each era in order to tell us the meaning of things. The misfortune of today is that we do not listen to the saints of our era and no one could say that there aren’t any. There are saints in our times and sanctity is being expressed in a non-institutional manner. Sanctity is not an institutional function; it is a charismatic function in the Church. Thus, we would have more certainty in all of our actions and considerations if we listened to the saints of our times existing here in Greece, wherever we live… maybe for Portugal. I do not know what may happen, but the Church is one. We have saints in Greece; on the Holy Mountain we have persons so clear and trustworthy. The body of the Church trusts the judgements of these persons and we could have confirmations about our theology and our stance in all of this.
Part III: Cunning in-oculation of the “in the image”
PAPA DEMETRIOS CARELLAS: This is the video that introduced me to the Fr. Ioannis’ awesome, patristicly-based theological teachings.
In the beginning of the interview, Fr. Ioannis reminds us of these essential facts (because the political, medical and even religious message has been that the Covid vaccine is simply a medical issue): “The peak of all answers is theological and spiritual… Theology and life cannot be separated.”
Here are a few more of the profound statements of this dedicated priest:
“These vaccines are not blessed by God, not only regarding Christians, but all people. This is the highest thing that I can tell you, and not just justify it differentially.[Now] we can start answering it at different levels (and he definitely accomplishes this in a manner that I feel certain would be blessed by our holy Church Fathers!).”
“There is only one wall of immunity that we need at this moment: immunity to fear, immunity to terrorism, from this new faction, this atrocious faction, of the medical dynasty. I am not speaking of the medical profession, but medical fascism…The worship in obedience to an invisible ruler: that is the metaphysics of the vaccine… [that is what makes it] a bridge to the dark future.”
At the twenty-minute mark, his remarkable use of Orthodox theology and spirituality, and even human logic, could only have been achieved through the action of the Holy Spirit.
Beloved ones! When are we going to wake up from our spiritual lethargy, even indifference—daily “bending the knee” to Jesus: to forgive us; to intervene and save us; and to call us to take action, through His Grace? "It is as if humanity has lost its will to fight for any cause,” Fr. Ioannis says with sadness.
JUSTINO CARNEIRO: Presently, we witness the administration of vaccines which employ new gene therapy technologies, approved for emergency use. We also know that these vaccines use, in different ways, cells derived from aborted embryos. In addition, we see the beginning of a social segregation between those who are vaccinated and those who are not, with the new digital COVID certificate. From an Orthodox perspective, is this a strictly medical issue, with no relationship with faith or spirituality? Is there a spiritual dimension to these vaccines?
There is an important distinction between what is known and what is expressed.
FR. IOANNIS DRONGITIS: Look, all these questions are very condensed and multi-layered. It is not only one question. I do not know if I can set within a single framework the things you are asking. I wish to begin with a gradation of my answers starting from the top of this gradation. For me the peak for all the answers is theological and spiritual; meaning that in this answer and in this approach I will not give you any arguments. As you know (I believe you also know it personally but we can share it with the brothers in Portugal along with anyone else), in theology we have the utterable and the unutterable and also a clear distinction between knowledge and expression. There are things we know, but we cannot say. Likewise, there are things that are said and things that are not said (not necessarily in a secretive sense, but in the sense that they simply are not expressed). In other words, the things we know ecclesiastically and theologically, cannot always be expressed, even though we know them.
The Church’s prophetic voice does not limit itself to argumentation and speaks to all areas of life.
So allow me, after making this introduction, to tell you that for me the highest argument in theology (and in what you are asking me) is the existence of a non-argument, for anyone who understands what I am saying. Somebody could say “thus saith the Spirit" unto the churches according to the apocalyptical word. I do not want to speak in this mindset, but I believe that I can somehow modify the patristic words saying “I become foolish for the brothers’ benefit” and modify it and say that I do not become foolish for their benefit. If I could do it, that would be good and holy. I feel I am generally foolish at all times; except, of course, for the moments we serve the mysteries, or the moments we have to answer about these things. For these things are for the benefit of the brothers.
So, I can tell you that, for me, the beginning of all the answers is that this series, this suggested therapy with the vaccines of all kinds, like the mRNA vaccines, is not blessed by God. This is not blessed to be done. Not only by the Christians but by all people. God wants neither the Christians, nor the rest of the people to take the vaccine. For me, this is the highest thing that I can tell you. So long as we say the highest thing and not justify it differently, we can start answering it in different levels. To begin with, we can say that, since you asked whether this is related to spiritual life, and what are its spiritual extensions, or if these two things are related… Do you know how many answers can be given to this? On all levels. How is it possible to have questions like these today? Is there anything related to man’s life that does not have a theological background and theological significance? Who believes such things? Who says such things today? It is related to man’s life, to his body, at least, if not to his soul, it is related at least to his body, to his health, to his disease, to his therapy, to his social presence, to his own freedom, and the issue is not theological and spiritual? Who says such things? I beg the brothers not to hear, to be totally indifferent to such separations. It is really almost outrageous to hear such things. That supposedly these issues do not have a theological character and are purely medical issues. Is there anything that is purely medical?
Curing of diseases is one of the gifts from God.
Are we forgetting [this] perhaps? It is like we are “backing out” (if I may say so, in Greek we use this word, I do not know how it can be translated) so fast, like terrified people. We run away from the problem, to hide? Look, God gave—with the gift of the priesthood, apart from the gift of teaching, for anyone that has it—the gift of curing diseases. Are we forgetting that? We do not have the exclusivity of this. And of course, let me speak for those that do not know: naturally, wherever medicine exists and is practiced authentically, it is something blessed and given by God. There is no doubt about that. But, why are we expelling this property [i.e., one of the gifts of God is healing the body]? Maybe we do not believe in it? Did Jesus not send us, as the Gospel says, to preach and to heal every sickness and every disease? Why do we ignore this? Is there a compartmentalization in our mission? Is it possible to say such things? We should take out all the prayers from the Euchologion, then, to compartmentalize, shrink our mission, and lock ourselves up in the temple and do nothing else apart from the Divine Liturgy. Neither should we read prayers, nor deal with any existing issues concerning us, nor issues of pregnancy, abortions, nor let’s say issues that have to do with... (See how many prayers we have?) even for the cure of the animals, the cure of the earth that ails from our sins. Do we not have prayers and sanctifications? So we not have spiritual matters like these? What are we saying now? These are dilemmas which are posed as they should not have been, of course. They are almost provocative to talk about, in my opinion.
Theology (through the Spirit) answers everything.
Is there anything outside theology? Is theology not a prophetic science? I am using the word “science” spiritually and not academically. Is there anything outside this? The Spirit, where It exists, judges everything. The man of God judges all things and we are supposed to be men of God. How is it possible to consider that this means a separation between theology and life? But what have we been saying all these years? You know, it comes to my mind many times the vision, if you allow me, I say it a bit ironically, of the post-COVID era, in which lobotomized, in a way, or genetically modified Christians will be in halls attending conferences of a supposedly theological character, speaking about the relation between theology and life (the same all over again) and about how complete theology is and where it extends to and so on, and everybody will be smiling, happy and they will be applauding. This would be the most tragic spectacle; it would be an eschatological scene. May we never be there and see something like this. So, we cannot say things like these, that this issue lacks spirituality. Everything has spirituality, of course. These dilemmas exist if we are not familiar with the life of the Church, not even the basics, let’s say, of theology. That is what I can tell you at first.
The vaccine is unacceptable for the Christian: “the sealing of today.”
But, if you allow me to continue a bit more in the spirit of my first position, I will tell you that in my own opinion, or rather, understanding (phronēsis)—let me be careful with the words. My own word is, clearly, that these proposed vaccines naturally, as genetically modified products, or as a genetic "therapy”, in quotation marks, are an issue that not only should be of our concern, but also a matter that should have already been put out of the discussion at the level of a dialogue with medicine, in terms of theology. Even if we ignored a part, a section of the scientific reality, again we should have to reject it theologically. This is clear, I think. We do not need to analyze it; it would take us a lot of time. The human being has to remain a human being, as is. The vision of man’s mutation is not a vision of a marginal group, or something like this, it has been official for decades. Let’s not elaborate on that now because I want to tell you more, maybe in another question of yours.
What concerns me now is the spiritual and theological side. So, for me, the proposal for these vaccines is a part, or let’s say, it is a bridge, as Saint John Chrysostom says; it is a sealing, it is the sealing of this era. It is not the last sealing, the final sealing of the Antichrist; but it is the sealing of the present time. It is the sealing of today. And the first sealing that always exists (and I will justify this, theologically and patristicly) within: in man’s presuppositions, in the mind (nous) of man. We are sealed, even before being sealed. Anyone is sealed, from the way we think, if we think (with whatever criteria we think in any case). There is the sealing. You know, in all the people who took the vaccine, with whom I have spoken, I see the sealing being already present, in most of them. See, in our conversations, I do not see any substantial criteria or whatever criteria existing to lament [losing if not receiving vaccination]. It is as if the value of truth does not exist, or even the value of the knowledge of reality or the spiritual meaning of this action. It is as if we are not at all interested in learning anything. It is like we only wanting to secure our freedom of movement, our job or our entertainment, alas; or, for others, to go to the football field and watch their favorite team to entertain themselves, which is the last level [i.e., lowest in the hierarchy of life’s true and meaningful values] of the present life. Is this [approach to life] not already a sealing? If I am not interested in anything else apart from these things, am I not already sealed, today? Will I not get sealed tomorrow? Let’s not pretend as though the words terrify us. The vaccine, thus, I say it again, is the sealing of today.
The vaccine is a bridge leading to the Antichrist.
Saint John Chrysostom has given a great speech—as all of his speeches are, with his golden mouth—on the issue of baptism. So, as we know (or maybe it is a chance of catechism for our brothers in Portugal), we do not have only one baptism. According to our theology, we say that there are eight baptisms. Saint John Damascene refers to them. Before we arrive at the current baptism, there is the baptism of the flood, of the sea and the cloud, the Judaic baptism, relating to the law, and, of course, the baptism of John. So, what are all these until we reach John? They are bridges; each one leading to the next level. So, John is the last bridge before Christ and we know that John baptizes so men can be in the position of having communion with the Spirit of Christ, in order to be able to receive Christ when He comes. So, for me, this vaccine or these vaccines (this series of things anyway) is the bridge to recognize for whoever does it, not for us to recognize. Alas, for people are already able to be in communion with the spirit of the Antichrist which will have been poured upon humanity. It is clear, look around you. The spirit of the Antichrist is everywhere at this moment, especially now in this crisis. The people of God had already seen it either way: from old, but look now: all these things, including the things you mentioned in the question, are they not already the spirit of the Antichrist in the world? So the vaccine is the bridge which will lead us to the complete sealing. Because, depending on the criteria, some people were misled, some were found in a moment of personal weakness, without any knowledge, without questioning, without any proper advice or true support. But it is a bridge, really, which leads us there. I take this dangerous, so to say, position completely consciously, clearly in me and I say this to the brothers and to anyone else. That is what it is; and it is not only this, but this is the spiritual part.
The push for vaccination is born from irrationality, a delusional metaphysical ideology.
So it introduces us into the spirit of the Antichrist, it introduces humanity, to put it better, to the spirit of the Antichrist. This is the spiritual meaning, its spiritual significance. But look! Who can speak about rationality in what is happening? One must be completely blind! Is there any logic in what is happening now, truly? Or has a global lobotomy simply taken place? At this moment, the dialogue about the vaccines is clearly metaphysical—on a philosophical level (since this is your domain, as it is also the domain of many of the brothers in Portugal). It is pure metaphysics! Rationality is completely absent in the arguments, because everything has been refuted. What argument can we use today in order to have the vaccines? All this intensification… the alleged mutation... the vaccines being so necessary… Is there any logical basis at this moment? Haven't they been refuted? Don’t we know that mutations are obvious, at this moment, according to the way we acted [i.e., responded to the virus]? Aren’t new ones coming? Is it possible to talk about a wall of immunity? There is only one wall of immunity that we need at this moment: immunity to fear, immunity to the terrorism, from this new faction, this atrocious faction, of the medical power. Do you understand? I am not referring to the medical profession. I am talking about medical fascism, about the help of so-called medicine to this upcoming fascism, which is obvious!
When did anyone show such interest so as to pressure people in such a manner, as today, to take a vaccine? When was it in history that someone showed such interest so as to pay people to take a vaccine? Is it not clear why this is happening? There are several reasons. But let’s talk about the main reason for us, which is spiritual. It is, therefore, an initiation, what is happening. It is an initiation aimed at the mentality, on a more external level, and at the soul itself of man. The metaphysics is exactly, as I was about to tell you, the abolishment of rationality, of any logical dialogue. No rational argument prevails, so to speak, in this proposal. And that which is to be understood has an undefined basis in terms of the meaning which everybody is called to rely on. What is there to be understood? It is so undefined; it is metaphysical. It is “therapy” as obedience. Not as something else. Because it is obvious. In just a few months, even if there was immunity with this vaccine, even if there was—since there is not, and everybody knows that... everybody— [people obsessively] want to know this is going to end. What is the logical basis for this obsession? There is no logical basis. It is pure metaphysics what is happening. For those who do not understand the term, we can say that we mean this exactly in the sense of philosophy: the absence of reasonable arguments creates metaphysics, the worship in obedience to an invisible ruler. Do you understand? That is the metaphysics of the vaccine. We cannot speak about rationality, science, and all of this. It is not possible. Well, some people believe these things. But, what science? As you said, there is no consensus in this. Imagine if there was consensus, how advanced things would be. how much this upcoming fascism would have prevailed in everyone’s consciousness. We cannot have this kind of approach at all, I think.
The spiritual condition of people surrounding the receiving of the vaccine.
Thus, I want to say that vaccines have this spiritual dimension. They introduce us into this spirit. It is totally dangerous to make divisions of this kind between theology, spiritual life and science. It is not even that kind of an issue anymore. It is purely spiritual. It is a bridge to this dark future. But since it is a bridge that surely introduces us into this space, into tomorrow, it possesses power, that which is happening, but it cannot be definitive. Because of that, I beg all the brothers, myself, personally, as a fool, to return back. Whoever has passed the bridge, come back. It is difficult to return, once you have passed the bridge but it is not a definitive bridge. First, they have to understand to eliminate the noetic sealing internally, [they must] change their criteria, change the criteria that made them enter into this. There are people saying “I did not want it, my mother pressured me,” “my father,” “my family,” “my child.” Now these are criteria? We cannot speak like this. We have not realized the seriousness of the situation.
Anyway, what kind of life is this that some people impose their will? Why is there this violence (which has even reached the family level)? Look, violence is visible. There is raw violence in societies at this moment. I do not know what happens in Portugal but in Greece there is raw violence. You can tell me what happens in Portugal, after this interview. But violence is present. The upcoming totalitarian world, the dystopian world (as it is said) is already present. It is in people’s souls. It is no longer the state, or some elite, that simply creates it. It is the communion between the spirit of the citizens, of a part of the citizens, with this dark reality. People have taken on, not only subsidized people but also non-subsidized, the task of being workers for this dark present and dark future. That is the segregation which is taking place, as you said. It happens like this. It is already happening.
But the people, in order to remain human (not for such a result to not be achieved and not for this situation to change, but as a testimony of life), we cannot be human, unless we confess the truth in our lives. So people should confess the truth. We should have this mindset, above all the Christians. But I believe also humanity [should have this mindset] in general. It is as if humanity has lost its will to fight for any cause (with which I would not necessarily agree) unlike any other moment of history. Do you understand? Here and now we have a general hypnosis. Is this not also in the spirit of the Antichrist? A general indolence has spread. An almost unexplained passivity. It can be explained. Why? As sin has dominated the world, the first result of sin is the darkening of the mind. Since we have venerated the sin, we do not see. We see neither the historical, nor the horizontal nor the vertical, nor the spiritual. Why is there so much confusion? If we did not have the men of God, where would we be? If we did not have the saints to lean on to as Orthodox, where would we be today? If we did not have the living presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church, we would have already gone further into this chaos. But the Holy Spirit is present in the Church. It is alive. And It speaks to the churches, as it is said in the Apocalypse. It does not wish for anyone’s loss. The Holy Spirit is good; and that is Its goodness: in not wanting anyone’s loss, at all levels. It calls us to turn back. There is still time for man. Let them stop here, whoever took the vaccine. Let them struggle, let them understand that there is a spiritual issue.
The vaccine is a spiritual contamination.
And, of course, since you have mentioned it, what is the spiritual issue apart from the sealing of the soul and body? It is the issue of contamination, about which some Fathers here in Greece have talked majestically. They have settled it as an issue, in my opinion. Is there contamination by the vaccine? Of course there is contamination. From the moment [we knew of it] we know [there is contamination]. Was contamination not the reason why Saint Theodore’s miracle with the kollyva happened? Was there not contamination then? Is there not contamination now when we use cell lines of aborted embryos? Do you know how this happens? It is a dreadful collusion, a scenario, really, from a horror movie. The way these embryos are extracted, how these abortions happen. They happen precisely for this reason. It is not one abortion that happened. Let's not say such things. We should know what is happening. Wretched creatures from psychiatric hospitals, people in despair who become guinea pigs, either knowingly or, in most cases, without knowing. Living creatures taken for such scientific purposes. What are we doing?! Do we not know what goes on in the world at all? What do we read? What do we watch? Only television? This is like a global drug delivery. What is this? Is this how we develop awareness and form positions as people?
Calling the vaccine a blessing from God is blasphemy.
So, there is certainly a spiritual dimension to these things. and everything has a spiritual dimension, even the “political” dimension of things has spiritual significance for us. I do not know to what extent I have answered you so far, but I think that if we start this, there will be no end to our discussion about these issues. If you want, you can pose other questions, in case this is more helpful to you.
Is the vaccine, then, a blessing from God? After all of this, is it possible for all this fraud, all this organized crime, to be God’s blessing? This is the inversion of everything. So I am clearly telling you that the vaccine is not God’s blessing. Not only it is not a blessing but the vaccines are the generation of vipers. If we say that it is a blessing, we fall into blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which as you know, and if you know, is an unforgivable sin. Is this inversion blessed? I mean, is this darkness a blessing? Whoever does not take the vaccine, what will they be, then? Cursed? Is this what the Spirit of God says to the churches?
We are better off in our homes being ministered from heaven than in a parish of the Antichrist.
In any case, let’s approach the issue a bit differently. We have the medical fascism, which may be misinterpreted, but if you want I can explain it to you. We have clearly a political fascism. Are we about to have an ecclesiastical one? I mean, will we be separating the faithful between vaccinated and non-vaccinated? And the vaccinated will be those entering the temple and the others will be outside? Will this be the Church of Christ or of the Antichrist? How do we see it from afar? In a church like this, I have to say to the brothers in Portugal and anywhere else, not only should we not enter but we should leave far away from it. Better in our houses. If the church tells us that in order to enter we must be vaccinated, we have to run far away. Better in our houses, to open our mouth after a Paraklesis, after a service, or a prayer, and to commune from the saints and from the angels noetically than inside this (which I do not know how to name it).
I have just remembered a person from North Epiros, it came to my mind, whom I met once. He had become a sexton in a church and because we were somehow acquainted, I met him once by chance many years ago in a bus. I was a deacon then. We started talking and he described to me what was happening in Albania those years. And that is exactly what was happening. They would gather and listen secretly to the Divine Liturgy from Greece and at the moment of the Holy Communion they would open their mouth. They would take antidoron noetically, as he told me. This is what we will do with a church like this. We will be taking the antidoron noetically. We will be communing noetically. And we will commune, if it is not possible for us to attend the Liturgy. This will not be the Church of Christ. And of course it is not related to any blessing. The darkness is never a blessing.
It is an absurdity to call the vaccines a blessing.
Is it possible for human mutation to be a blessing? Is the subordination of man, to such a degree (electronic), will it be a blessing? Are we going to baptize this thing as a blessing? Is fascism a blessing? Is the segregation of people a blessing? Are all these walls that are being raised a blessing? A blessing, for those that do not have this opinion, based on rational and even scientific, not on spiritual arguments, to be excluded? How does this look like? Are children going to be excluded from school? Are workers excluded from their jobs? Are the faithful going to be excluded from the Church? Is this the blessing? Do we not know what is happening, not in the slightest? No one knows the spiritual matters? Neither do we know the historical ones? Do we not know what this is? Is there, I wonder, nanoparticle technology? And are we sure that it does not exist in the vaccine? And what will we say tomorrow to the people, when [the effects] start appearing? And who will account for them? Who is accounting for it today? Who is making a record, at least here? I don’t know about Portugal. Who will record the side effects of the vaccine or the complications? Who is writing down the deaths caused from these complications? What will we say tomorrow? What are we even going to say to the next generation? As we know, since medicine has taught us so, there are side effects from simple medicines, not from genetic interventions which are manifested one generation later. Are we in a hurry to name something as a blessing, without even knowing what it is? It would not make any difference to me even if it were approved. Others have also been approved. Some were also approved only to find out later that they were deadly. In our era there is an abundance of information if we want to learn. What is this? Do we not know? Do we not want to learn or is it something else?
There is an ecclesiastical dimension to this conflict.
It is evident that the governments want to assimilate the Church—let us speak in ecclesiastical terms—They want to assimilate its hierarchy, its body. They want to incorporate it for their own purposes. They want to turn us into workers of all those dark practices as well as of their theory and of their vision for the world. To make us serve the evil one, instead of Christ, whom we serve. Is it up to us to convince people to take the vaccines? My God, how are we supposed to face them? When all of this starts to appear more visibly, what will we do then?
So, to conclude the spiritual issue, if then the states, any state, any government wants to do that, if it sets the terms of worship, if it sets the terms of entrance to the temple, if it sets the terms of the ecclesiastical functioning, if it sets the terms of the preaching (as we have seen), then is it not going to set the terms of the vaccination of the faithful? And then what will we do? Some have already rushed to it considering it almost imperative. Woe to us.... Woe to us. But is what I say not a spiritual issue? When the states set such terms, and to say it more specifically, is this not a matter of canon law? When the Church ceases to have authority over the terms of its life, is this not a matter of canon law?
Part IV: Insertional Planning
PAPA DEMETRIOS CARELLAS: At the beginning, Fr. Ioannis skillfully illustrates the definite connection between science and politics in the Covid situation; and reminds us that there is not now—and never has been—a free and pure science. In major powers, like the USA and China, Fr. Ioannis clearly reveals that “science is undoubtedly part of the system. It is subsidized. It cannot exist without subsidies.”
He spends some time exposing the demonic humanism spirit of enlightenment, and that the “radicalism of humanism is human extension…the merging of humans with machines… Right now, no one is investing in people.” And this priest is well versed in the programs for the development of human hybrids that are currently taking place in the USA. He even refers to a specific program, BodyNet, at Stanford University.
This shortest (17 minutes) of all the videos.
[“Insertional,” in this title for Part IV, refers to] the actual Greek word, in verb form, literally meaning to ram. In this case, I think it implies to force something to happen — to “ram” something through; but I could be wrong!
JUSTINO CARNEIRO: It is said that the public health measures decreed by the state are based on science. Nonetheless, we see that there is no absolute consensus in the scientific community. As the sociology of science demonstrates, science is in many ways determined by political, economic and institutional conditions, but also by global ideas about human nature and worldviews of a spiritual type. The choice and selection of epidemiological measures implies not only scientific decisions but also political decisions. What is your perspective about the connection between science and politics in the present situation?
Politics controls science.
FR. IOANNIS DRONGITIS: It's a little difficult to address all the things you are asking with a single answer, but we will try. First of all, to say that the claim that these are scientific matters is certainly correct; meaning, of course, science is involved in all that. Surely, I have to say that here in Greece, at least (I don’t know about Portugal), the committee of scientists has admitted that several times what was proposed was different from what was decided and that the decisions are political. That is, the same committee associated with the government has said that, and I think it is self-evident. Politics has the authority and the initiative in these things.
If I may, we must answer the question in depth. First of all, it is not possible to ignore, today, and to believe, of course, that there is a free and fine science. There is no such thing. There never was. And it does not exist today. There are scientists, as persons, very important, who work as independently as they can. But in organized societies (and especially the American society or the Chinese, or in societies such as these), science is undoubtedly part of the system, it is subsidized. It cannot exist without subsidies.
Society has pushed people into some degree of delusion.
Now let’s not talk about things that do not exist. Why do we ignore reality? We cannot ignore basic things. People today are so, let’s say, exposed to brainwashing and propaganda, not just today, for decades now; they have been considering theories, [opposed to] things that have been so clear and are already present in the world. First of all, let’s say that within the dream… let’s say of liberalism (we can also speak this language, or if you like, let’s say, of capitalism—I would prefer the concept lying within: the essence of humanism, inside the essence of the Enlightenment, which is the matrix that produces all of this), so within this essence lies their radical expression. The radicalism of humanism is human extension. There, science encounters political philosophy and, above all, political action, of the superpowers, primarily.
Man is meddling in things that invite destruction.
It is not hidden, it is no secret, for decades now (officially, not as conspiracy theories) the American government has invested money on programs for human hybrids, for the merging of humans and machines, for the connection with the internet. Thus, there is a related office in charge. It is not covert. I do not remember its name now, Defense [Sciences] Office, something like this. It has to do with science and all that, for militaristic purposes. It wants to make a superhuman soldier with no moral inhibitions, no fear, no fatigue. These are not theories, these are the reality. Nor can we ignore that in these proposed treatments, so to say, which do not include the existing drugs which cannot be obtained: the mRNA treatments. It is clear that the person who does this kind of treatment is like a sensor. Is it or is it not? Are not at least some of the vaccines making a person visible to a simple Bluetooth? So, with a more advanced system, what can they do? If my phone can track those vaccinated around me, or at least some of them, what can another system, state, supranational or even global system do? Or maybe there is no such technology. Unfortunately, many things are concealed from people, not because they are secret but because they are not divulged yet, it is clear that they happen.
The transhumanists have been working. What’s our spiritual response?
Today, are there not in Stanford, specifically, or in China, universities and laboratories? Is there not the known BodyNet from Stanford? What is this BodyNet about? Is it not part of all these horrible things to come that we are describing? Look, what man wants is, in fact, what we call invisible power; that is, for today’s techno-feudal lords, there are too many people. We are talking about misanthropy at this point. Humanity is already large. It needs to be shrunk. Right now, no one is investing in people. People are dispensable to them. They are too many and unnecessary. That is why humanity needs to be shrunk. And I think whoever cares has seen with their own eyes and heard with their ears something like that said or expressed. Man, on the other hand, cannot remain free. He needs to be connected to the system. He needs to be connected to the internet. He becomes an object. This is evident in all this propaganda of governmental science, what man becomes, what nature becomes as a whole. The only possibility for nature to exist is to fit into cyberspace. Only this nature. They hate nature, because nature has something alive. Nature is related to God. And if we speak about human nature, do you know what they officially say in the programs I told you about? That human nature needs to be re-adapted. That man needs to be re-designed. Listen, these are not my words. Let those listening search for this. They are designing a new man. A man connected to the machine. Let me give you an example. See the scale of what it is like, since [this situation] exists and it is not [my opinion]. So what is an example? The computer, the smartphone, are about to be abolished in a little while, in fact. Why? Because we are moving on to the next stage. The phone will be incorporated into man. Do you understand? First, it will be the sensors that we will wear and then the implants. Then what? They are already here. There is technology in which an implant almost resembles the skin. It can also be inserted in such a way so as to be merged into the human skin. That is the technology today. And, of course, that is how it is in real brain implants, as we know. All this transhumanist frenzy has produced people [to build this technology] and the experiments were executed many years ago.
So I consider that the vaccines are on this road. It is part of, let’s say, this tyranny, where man will be remotely controlled. He is dangerous. He is unpredictable. [This is the case] even the indolent, even the lobotomized—even the type of the bourgeois who only drinks on weekends. I don't know what he does, let’s say he’s not interested in anything else—even he is an unpredictable man. This system does not want unpredictable men. And it hates the potentiality of man’s freedom. That’s the blow to the “in God’s image.” That’s the spiritual part: when he stops, when man submits, when he becomes remotely controlled. When, in order to live, he has to fit into the network, his freedom, transformed to the worst [corruption of humanity], then what kind of man is he?
Let us die as human beings. Let us get sick from COVID-19, but remain human. Let us die of everything else, but let us keep the essence of “in God’s image” and the ability to choose. Let us not go already slaughtered as “food of the enemy,” as we chant in the Church, to the Antichrist someday, when free will has been abolished. All mankind is already heading that way.
Obviously, as there has never been free science, neither does it exist today. And, of course, all of this is not scientific. It is only scientific in the sense that the governmentality of science requires science in order to advance its visions, these apocalyptic and horrific visions. In this sense, what we have is scientism. Fortunately, we have not reached the totalitarianism of the future. There are still free men as well and free scientists, who, of course, live in a tug of war, in a delicate balance, knowing that they can indeed be destroyed scientifically if they advance in a wrong way. But there are also people who ignore this, as scientists, and are now visible in our country, here in Greece (I do not know in Portugal). But there are global names that are already informing us at various levels about what is happening. But we must not ignore the technological basis, the scientific development of today. The electromagnetic fields, how man can integrate into them and cease to exist in reality. To be a new man, a hybrid. The word hybrid exists and it is not me who [only] says it.
“Normality” is not going to be returned to us.
The mask-bearing, confident, vaccinated, the angry, small and medium-sized citizen, angry against the unvaccinated, believes and struggles in deep agony to return to what has been defined for him as normality, the annihilated normality, the one that, in any case, did not exist. I think we need to know that such a normality will not exist unless this situation is reversed in a way unforeseeable for us today; and that is what we hope for. Not because we should not fight; but because, along with our personal struggle, we need to have hope in this. But no such return will occur unless this overthrow takes place. None of this was designed for a reversal or return to happen. The reset does not include the normality of the previous life. Anything that does not fit in this electronic farm will be discarded. This is the reality.
Our responsibility in these times is embrace the Christian life.
People need to understand that everyone, within the limits of their own lives, must reject this situation. They request for our consent. And this is what is demonic. They want our signature as in the vaccine. They want us to say yes, under pressure, but it is we who have to say yes. We will say no. We must say no. We must also go backwards through the bridges, not to move on to the next bridge. This is very important. And we must learn, as Christians, first of all (since we are referring to this) that we must establish secret schools or open ones. We must initiate these hearths of education, communication, truth, transmission of ethos, of freedom in Christ. Those who can, let them look for a way out to rural life, to other ways of life; those who cannot or do not want to, let them stay within the city limits to fight in this mindset, which is what? It is the mindset of testimony and martyrdom, the mindset of struggle. There is no Christian life lacking a struggling, enthusiastic mindset. There is where we find our present and our future. If we are not connected to our sacramental life today, if we do not simultaneously live in this horrible setting while in repentance, if we do not live with intensity our inner spiritual life, with our falls among this, if we are connected within the global network but not within this bright world of the Holy Mysteries (of the saving mysteries the illuminating mysteries of the Church), then we will not be able to perceive reality, nor live, nor testify to the freedom in Christ abiding in it.