“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” Psalms 133:1
We read recently from eminent theologian Prot. Michael Pomazansky that the Apostles and Apostolic Fathers urged the faithful to preserve the faith they have received:
“From the first days of her existence, the Holy Church of Christ has ceaselessly been concerned that her children, her members, should stand firm in the pure truth. “
The words of the Psalmist, King David, are not contrary in any way to this. The unity we seek is not merely a self-serving love, as promoted by the Ecumenists, but a true love for our Saviour to dwell together in unity of the faith. Love and Truth are inseparable. The Lord directed His Disciples with the two great commandments, to the love the Lord God with all of our my heart, soul, and mind; and to love our neighbor (cf Matthew 22 36:40). The Lord even went on to tell us exactly who is our neighbor. We remember the parable of the Good Samaritan and understand that the Samaritans were heretics, observing foreign practices. The Lord did not readily accept their belief but sought to change them and to save them. As we learn from the encounter with Saint Photini at the well, the Samaritans were ready and accepted our Lord as the Messiah, thus casting off their old superstitions in false beliefs. The Lord seeks that all be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.
Lest we be deceived, consider further the words from the Apostle, Evangelist, Theologian, and beloved Disciple John:
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 1 John 4:20-21
This love transcends the love understood by this world. This is an endless love, a love which desires to last unto the ages of ages. When we love our neighbor in a godly manner, it is beyond passion and is in accord with the love of God.
It is a love transcending from our love of God, which consumes us. Loving God with all of our heart, mind, and soul is total – we cannot hold anything back. It is not surprising that St. Nicholas would slap Arius upon hearing his blasphemies. It was not that he was angered and hated Arius but rather the love of God completely consumed Him.
Contemporaries have an interesting proverb, “go along to get along”. Clearly Saint Nicholas would not ascribe to this. This notion is contrary to our belief. Truth is at the very core and without it, nothing else can stand nor does it matter. Truth is so tightly intertwined with the love of God, that one cannot exist without the other for God IS TRUTH. One may ask, if love were all that mattered, setting aside doctrinal relevance, then why would our Fathers continually exhort us to seek after the ways of the Lord, to preserve the traditions and teachings of the fathers – “Hold that fast which thou hast” Rev 3:11, and to seek after His covenants and testimonies:
All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. Psalms 25:10
There can be no arbitrariness to these words. To lend further validity to these words, we need look only to the Fathers to recognize the consonancy of this understanding:
“THIS, if anything, is the subversion of the Church: being in divisions. This is the devil’s weapon; this turns all things upside down. For as long as the body is joined into one, he has no power to get an entrance, but it is from division that offence comes. And whence the division? From opinions contrary to the teaching ofthe Apostles. And whence come opinions of this sort? From men’s being slaves to the belly and the other passions.”Saint John Chrysostom, + 407 A.D.
“LET THEM [the schismatics] not flatter themselves if they think they have Scripture authority for their assertions, since the devil himself quoted Scripture, and the essence of the Scriptures is not the letter but the meaning. Otherwise, if we follow the letter, we too can concoct a new dogma and assert that such persons as wear shoes and have two coats must not be received into the Church!”Blessed Jerome, + 420 A.D.