|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||Ecumenism and Oriental religions|
Mother Gabriele the Elder against Ecumenism and Religious Syncretism
Image: Mother Gabriele tending to a sick leper
Á’ On Oriental religions:
We do not all have the same God!
... I listened to your problems. I also listened to how you think and feel. I just wanted to tell you one thing, my dear M… Don’t linger too long over this so-called self-exploration; it will make you forget God and your fellow man as well. It is my belief that true love towards God is to be able to visualize Him in all of His Creation and especially in our Neighbor. And when we look upon our Neighbor and tend to him, to forget even our self, eventually. Knowing that you were brought up in the Christian faith, I ask you: did you have to go to Sai Baba to hear about the “Pure Heart”? If you had only read the Gospel, you would have known that the Lord Himself had said: “blessed are the pure in heart….”. And somewhere in the Old Testament it says: “I will take you, My child, into the desert, and there, I shall speak to your heart…”. We don’t speak to God with our mind. It is the heart that speaks.
You also ask me if you should ask to be baptized, given that you have already received the Chrism. But, this Chrism took place a long time before your prolonged stay in this Philosophy. Did you think that it hadn’t affected your inner self? Well, it has. And very much so. Because right now, whenever you focus on our Prayer, our Worship, your mind wanders away, to the various poses that Yogis take; the upright position of the spine and a whole lot of other exercises that have nothing to do with the Spirit of God.
Somebody once said: “When the soul is kneeling down, at the feet of Christ, what does it matter if the body is lying down, standing up, kneeling or fallen over?” This is totally irrelevant! It is only when you stop thinking about your body and your self, that you can truly become united with the Power of God.
You frequently repeat words like: What did you just say?….Why did you say that other thing?….Was that an inspiration by God?…. Was it out of enlightenment…Did it come from your mind?….. Well, if I sat down to think like that every minute of the day, I wouldn’t be able to utter anything…because we are all aware of our unworthiness to counsel the other. Instead, I just feel for others, and I suffer so much with those that I see around me, that I feel as though I am one of them. And from that moment on, I start saying: “If I were you, I would do this….” You, however, seem to want someone to take you by the hand, make you their underling, tell you to do this, do that, now sit down, now get up, now go and get the money that you worked for, now don’t take the money, now put on the red dress, now the white one… Whew! Now THAT is called Slavery! But you should bear in mind that God created us as Free beings! Many have said to me: “If only God hadn’t created us free, because we really don’t know what His Will is.” But that is so hypocritical! The Will of God becomes so apparent, in our fellow man, however, we persistently keep saying: “I don’t know…. I don’t know….”, simply because it doesn’t suit us to understand!
Do you have any idea how many years I have studied –and still study– the Gospel? Well, I am in a position to tell you that, just as a good housewife reads a recipe to prepare a dessert, then begins to assemble all the ingredients according to the recipe’s instructions, but finally discovers that her dessert was a failure, in which case, she gives it to the dog…well, that’s what our life is like. We read the instructions for our life –which is the Gospel– but…we make a mess of it! Then we give it another try, and another… and another…but, just like the dessert, where, in the one attempt it was too much egg, in the other attempt there was not enough sugar…well, that’s what it’s like in life too. There will be a time that our selfishness is to blame, and another time it will be because we spoke of our neighbor as though he weren’t our brother…and all this will eventually accumulate and become like a boulder that will drag us down into the ocean and drown us, and nothing more…
You say that our beloved G. told you to: “Go back (she meant go back to me), and whatever she says to you, obey her, and you will then find your way, because she knows how to read one’s mind”… And you ask me: “Can you really read one’s mind?” My dear M., imagine if I could really read minds! I really can’t understand anything that you are saying here, because it is so intellectual! I only know how to love you. With all my heart. I also love the Universe with all my heart. Because for me, no-one is a “stranger”, no-one is “mine”; there is no such thing as red-skinned, white or black… No such thing… Don’t forget my dear M., that the first sin was committed with the mind and some of the Angels, from being Angels of Light they became Angels of Darkness. Do you know how frightening it is, when a Power –that is not a power that comes from the Light– presents certain things to you with such beauty, such power, such kindness, and with all these things, which basically comprise a good person, can actually make you embrace them in practice?…We should watch out for this kind of thing. You know, for years I have been wondering, what is the meaning behind the words “if the light inside you is darkness, then how much is the darkness?” Well, do you know that by believing we have the Light inside us, we sometimes actually have Darkness, which we put to use against our brother with the impression that we are helping him and love him, when in fact these things are works of Darkness, which we have perceived as Light… On this matter, I can tell you about someone who dearly loved his sister who was suffering from melancholy; he came to believe that his presence was so imperative, that he stopped going to work. He would say to himself: “If I am not here for her, what will become of her?” …Can you imagine this degree of Faithlessness? In other words, are we substituting even God’s help?… Well, in this kind of example we can clearly distinguish the meaning of the words “if the light inside…”
Elsewhere, you tell me that when you do a good deed, you say: See? I did this…. Well, let me tell you about an incident…Once, we were reading Patristic texts with a lady acquaintance of mine. We had become acquainted with the Reverend Damianos, so, one day I said to her: “Why don’t we go to him for confession, and get his blessing?” We went, and –amongst other things- he told her that she possessed an ego that she hadn’t discovered yet, and that if she didn’t reach repentance, she would not attain Joy in Christ. This revelation somehow jolted her, and she went home and started the tears and the weeping. For one whole week, she didn’t stop crying… A few days after, we again went to His Eminence. And so I said to him: “Reverend Father…what are we going to do? She has been crying incessantly, night and day! What can be done?” And he replied, with a solemn smile: “What are you saying? In my entire life, I haven’t achieved that much weeping and that much repentance!” Well…..we left, and, on the way back, what did she turn around and say? “You see? Did you see what he said? That not even he has ever achieved that much repentance!” Well, my child M.., I will let you draw your own conclusion...
That’s all I had to say to you today. And now, I pray that the Grace of God will be close to you; and the Light of Christ shed light on your path…Set yourself free, in the hands of God, my dear M., and in time, He will guide various people to tell you what His Will is. Eventually, in a deep silence and prayer, you will learn what His Will is, directly. And then, you will be living permanently in the Light and the Joy of Christ…
[pages 428-431 ]
Ô: What do you believe, about Reincarnation?
Mother Gabriele: I don’t believe in it. Because for us, God has given us only this lifetime to do whatever we are to do. And everything that we know about this life and the afterlife, are all found in the Holy Bible. That is our Manual. We need to have it, just as every Science has one. As for the rest, well, only the soul can know about them, and the soul keeps them to itself; it doesn’t get into discussions.
Ô: Sister, there is a guru that came here, to Athens, who has been giving lectures and initiating many youngsters, and one of them is a 19-year old friend of mine. This youngster is now in a Psychiatric Ward. What went wrong? What can be done?
Mother Gabriele: I have noticed the following, that Hindus do not suffer this kind of derangement*...but, I have happened to see many Christian men and women who went to be initiated and then conceded to abandon Christ, or, to say: “Ah, He is just like Buddha, like Confucius, or like any one of the other, post-Christ ‘neo-prophets’”…Of these people, later on, some became cross-eyed and could not see properly; others suffered mental delusions and returned to their homeland, while others remained there permanently and who knows what became of them, or, they may have donned the cassock of a foreign monastic order etc..
I have also observed that the way this teaching is promoted is not fitting for a Christian. Because that Christian, that youngster, was trying to combine Philosophy, Philology and Religion and to adapt all of these things together ( as if this could ever be possible! ),to the Teaching of Christ. If he had taken the Philosophy of India as Philosophy only **, nothing would have happened to him. But, when he reached the point of wanting to become a god also, because –as the gurus themselves claim– a guru is the incarnation of god, then… Well, this was what this child was aiming for: he was trying to become like the guru. Remember what happened to our forefather Adam, and Eve? They had desired to become gods. So, what happens to these youngsters? They too want to become gods, so it is only to be expected, that they will lose their sanity.
Now do you understand what happens? Remember the time I spoke to that other child and asked him: “Who is the one that, when you practice meditation and self-concentration, guides you internally about the Will of God, to eliminate all the evils that you have inside you? Who is your guide, for all these things?” And he had replied: “The guru. He is the one I think of; he is the one I see, those are the things that I do.”…If, my dear T., he had put aside the human guru and had looked upon Christ and His Person instead, that child today would have been one of Christ’s choicest servants and His worker. But now, this has happened to the child, and it is a very difficult situation…because he will need a serious amount of praying by Christians. There needs to be a serious effort by his mother first of all, and especially by his mother, because the mother has known him from his early years; how he grew up, what he had in the past, what kind of childhood he had, what his views were, the kind of entertainment he preferred, how he preferred to study…the child’s entire soul is best known by its mother. Thus, if the mother now puts in an effort, without resorting to any “schooling” on her part, and shows him her infinite love, without letting him suspect that he is sick but instead treat him as though he is healthy, and then take him to a church and ask a priest to read over him the Exorcisms of Saint Basil *** - these are very special blessings, that are read in every Church – and she should have the child’s name ready, so that, during the blessings, she too will beseech Christ, with deep faith and reverence, to forgive that child…because there will most assuredly be faults with the mother also, in this affair… Because, sometimes, by saying “I have an appointment to go to a Meeting or somewhere...” yet, that same moment, the child is in need of its mother’s counsel, then something could happen to that child’s soul. The soul is such a delicate thing…And above all, one must strive to find a Christian doctor…
[pages 209-210 ]
We noted in many parts of the book “THE ASCETICS OF LOVE”, descriptions of just how demonic the worship of Hinduism is, as well as how demons are invoked for their unusual practices. We shall see some of those excerpts below:
a) «These foreigners [OODE note: they are the travelers who go to India, to the Gurus] are the lost sheep of the Gospel, who have chosen the path to India. More often than not, this attraction that they feel is mingled with haughtiness; it is a desire to become known here, whereas in their own Homeland, in their own tradition, they would not have accomplished anything…» - [page 52]
b) Let’s see what the book says about what could happen to those who become Hinduists; what could have happened to Alan, a boy who was about to meet the Gurus, but Mother Gabriele had deterred him. "(...)and I had this certainty, that it was not possible that we could lose him just like that, at 26, after all those exercises [Note: Yoga etc ] which can make one cross-eyed and bring on all sorts of other things (...)" [page 186].
Â’ On Ecumenism and joint praying
1. On Orthodoxy
P.G.: Mother Gabriele, you have travelled all over the world. You have become familiar with so many Monastic Orders: Roman Catholic, Buddhist, Hinduist. You have seen Organizations, Protestant Missionaries. You witnessed how their Missionary work was generously financed…yet you, a poor, Orthodox Nun, had such limited material margins, either to facilitate you, or for offering to others. Did it ever occur to you that it might have been better, if you were something else, other than an Orthodox?
Mother Gabriele: God forbid! No! It never crossed my mind, not for an instant, because that is precisely what I can boast! I remember one time, when I was in Indira Ghandi’s office (Note: this was during her first trip to India, when she was still in the laity) and we were discussing a project of theirs. Just then, a woman came in and said to her (in front of me): “Is that a Catholic Nun that’s talking to you?” And Ghandi replied to her: “No, she is from the Orthodox Church. You haven’t heard of it, because it doesn’t exist in India, but it is an entirely different Church”…And when I came to Jerusalem, in our extremely humble Monastery in 1959, there came some Catholic nuns, who said to me: “This is Christ’s true Way of Life, because you here are deprived of everything…we, however, have all the comforts”…Can you understand what I am saying?
[page 291 ]
It is remarkable, how she never agreed to joint praying, in spite of her friendships and associations with people from other dogmas. We saw this with our own eyes, when she lived in Athens; she would receive phone calls from heterodox nuns, who would say to her: “We’ll come over, to pray together”… “I never pray vocally, and I never pray with company; only alone, or in the Church”, she would say to them, “but you’re welcome to come over for a nice cup of tea and tell me all your news”, she would add.
Even though she lived and moved within so many heterodox and other religions, there was not a single trace of Syncretism in her spiritual life and in matters of Worship. And this was doubly appreciated by her fellow travellers (…) In fact, one day someone made a derogatory remark about our Most Holy Mother (those who have so much as mentioned Her name to Protestants, can understand this).
Gabriele allowed a few minutes to pass, then, taking aside the person responsible, said to him: “My brother, I’m sorry, but I have to tell you that from tomorrow, I will no longer be with you”. He became very upset and sorrowed, because he had never seen that expression on her face before. She then explained to him: “I cannot tolerate listening to such words about the One I love the most, after Christ.” Naturally, apologies were expressed, and this kind of incident was not repeated.
[pages 96-97 ]
APPENDIX: PHOTOGRAPHS OF MOTHER GABRIELE WITH ORTHODOX FATHERS
It has become a frequent phenomenon, where ecumenists, like all other misled heretics, attempt to demote the worth of an enlightened person of the Church, by claiming it to be merely a personal view and not the Church’s; or, that a mistake may have been made.
For this reason, we are publishing photographs of Mother Gabriele next to important Fathers, just to prove that she expressed Orthodox positions in practice, by being opposed to the pan-heresy of Ecumenism.
Mother Gabriele together with the Archmandrites Fr. Elias Mastroyannopoulos, Fr. Lazarus Moore and (first from the right) Fr. Agathonikos (later Metropolitan of Katerini). Taken at the Seminary of Tinos island in 1969.
Mother Gabriele, together with the Elder, Geron Dionysios of the Mikra Agia Anna Scete, and the Geron of father Dionysios, fr. Gerasimos of the Mikra Agia Anna Scete, hymnographer of the great Church of Christ. This photograph was taken in the island of Aegina, in the cell “Aghia Skepi” which the Metropolitan of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina Islands, the Rev. Hierotheos, had allocated to her, and was under the jurisdiction of the Holy Monastery of Saint Nektarios. (pages 141-142)
Mother Gabriele with the late Missionary fr. Chrysostom Papasarantopoulos, with whom she collaborated in the Mission (page 110). The Elder had entrusted her with the Secretariat, and she had also undertaken health counseling with the Mothers.
Mother Gabriele with the renowned Geron Sophronios of Essex. The Elder had proposed that she remain as Mother Superior of the Sorority. She did not accept, as she had to continue with her Missionary work.
By T. F. D.
Translation by: A. N.
Article published in English on: 10-4-2006.
Last update: 10-9-2008.