This may be yet another example of how YouTube practices a type of censorship that does NOT involve removing “objectionable” material, but perhaps simply prevents any propagation of material that goes against the gospel of this world. Father Peter Heers delievers a stunning translation of a letter written in April of this year by one of the Athonite elders, who broke his silence to make clear the difference between his own point of view about the coronavirus pandemic and what is being attributed to him, often thoughts that he does not hold at all.
To give a preview, Elder Evthymios states the following (and more):
- The Church has long countered plagues through prayer and icon processions, and these worked.
- For the Church to close in response to coronavirus is seriously wrong and tragic.
- The coronavirus is far less severe than the fears stirred up concerning it.
- No one is being ordered to do anything, but Churches should have never closed
- This appears to be an excercise in how effectively the authorities can control people
- Vaccination against the virus is cautioned against, using the example of tragedies from bird flu vaccine
We should of course explain who this Orthodox priest is, and why it is a good idea to listen to him. The information below is his biographical profile from the Saint Kosmas Orthodox Christian Education Association.
From January of 2017 until May of 2018, Fr. Peter was the instructor of Old and New Testament at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York, and continues now as a Lecturer of Dogmatic Theology in the Certificate of Theological Studies Program.
Fr. Peter is the author of The Missionary Origins of Modern Ecumenism: Milestones Leading up to 1920, as well as The Ecclesiological Renovation of the Second Vatican Council: An Orthodox Examination of Rome’s Ecumenical Theology Regarding Baptism and the Church, which was released in November of 2015 and is also available in Greek.
Fr. Peter is also the translator of several books, including The Life of Elder Paisios (co-translator) and The Epistles of Elder Paisios, The Truth of our Faith (vols 1-2) by Elder Cleopa and Apostle to Zaire: The Life of Fr. Cosmas of Grigoriou, as well as the best-selling children’s book From I-ville to You-ville.
Fr. Peter has bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in Dogmatic Theology from the Theological School of the University of Thessalonica, all completed under the tutelage of Professor Demetrios Tselingides. He was the rector and spiritual father of the parish of the Holy Prophet Elias in Petrokerasa, a small village in the mountains outside of Thessalonica, Greece, from 2006 until 2017. In 2014 he was made Protopresbyteros and Spiritual Father of the Diocese of Ierissou and Agion Oros.
Fr. Peter Heers was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up near San Francisco. His father was an Anglican priest who, along with the rest of his family and much of his parish, converted to the Orthodox Church in 1992. In 1996 Fr. Peter went to Greece to visit Mt. Athos, and returned in 1998 to attend the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki.
Fr. Peter lived in Greece for 18 years, and married a Thessaloniki native, Presbytera Kyriaki. They have been blessed with 5 children. Fr. Peter & Presbytera Kyriaki homeschooled their children for thirteen years.
By all accounts, he is an excellent example of an American Orthodox Christian who is deeply steeped in Christianity and not secularism. Coming from this point of view, his reading and discussion of the letter from Elder Evthymios of the Kelli of the Resurrection in Kapsala on Mt. Athos is very much worth a listen. The translated text on YouTube seems to be fairly usable for other languages like Russian, as well.
This is something every American Orthodox Christian should watch – anyone who is Christian at all, really! – and then take the needed actions to protect their faith, family and livelihood. Given our recent coverage on this, one of the really clear points that can be drawn from this is that the authorities do NOT want Christians to be able to gather together in prayer. And sadly, they scored a great success, at least in the near term. For the first time in history, a plague – coronavirus – not even a particularly severe plague physically – closed the Church. This is a great watershed moment for the Church.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.