When clear matters of the faith are blatantly assaulted, every sober-minded Orthodox Christian is called to stand up and make a courageous answer.
There exists a pseudo-humility. This false idea turns humility and meekness into spinelessness and cowardice, in which a person is unable to address anything at all. All such a one can do in such a state is pitifully wheeze, “Who am I to say? I’m just a sinner.”
As Christians, we’re not to judge out of our own limited person, but the Church does judge from Her eternal experience of Revelation, for She has that authority from Her Lord, Christ Jesus. We as Christians are called to uphold the doctrine, dare I say, the judgment of the Church. It’s not my – or our – judgment, it is the Universal and Apostolic Gospel’s, as St. Nikolai Velimirovich says, This understanding is not personal or exceptional, and it is not individual or novel. It is in accordance with the understanding of the saints.
Archbishop Averky, a man of holy life who was steeped in the holy Fathers, says, While struggling resolutely against the most minute manifestations of evil and sin in our own souls, let us not fear to uncover and point out evil everywhere it is to be found in modern life – not from pride and self-love, but only out of love for the truth. Our chief task in this evil time of lying shamelessness is to remain totally faithful and devoted to the genuine truth of the Gospel and to the author of our salvation, Christ, the Giver of life Who rose on the third day from the tomb, the Conqueror of hell and death.
For one striving to live according to the Truth of the Gospel, the fact that he (we all) may sometimes fall does not deprive him of the ability to speak firmly and boldly when fundamentals, basics, of the faith are purposely and forcefully assailed (from within and without). A person’s own personal struggles with sin do not bar him from upholding the clear and manifest teaching of Christ the Lord’s Church.
The blessed Archbishop continues, Zeal for God, zeal for the Truth is not “phariseeism,” just as “humility” before the enemies of God, the enemies of the Church, before diabolical Evil, is not the true and saving humility of the Publican, but just destructive self-deception, leading to the depths of hell.
The wide-path of false humility will lead only to the abyss of depravity and destruction.
Psuedo-humility causes one to be spineless and paralyzed in the application of Gospel standards; this is just what the enemy desires. As Archbishop Averky notes, this is false humility, an anti-virtue; one that mimics aspects of true virtue but is, in reality, a bearer of death.
The Fathers do not mince words about those who would actively pervert the Faith. St. Cyril of Jerusalem says, Especially abhor all the assemblies of wicked heretics. That’s not very loving to heretics St Cyril! He goes on to say, Many of those who are falsely called Christians, and wrongfully addressed by the sweet name of Christ, have ere now impiously dared to banish God from His own creation. I mean the brood of heretics, those most ungodly men of evil name, pretending to be friends of Christ but utterly hating Him (Catechetical Lectures).
False humility is fear of the world. It seeks to banish God from the moral realm, His creation, by promoting claims and ideas that any right-minded Orthodox knows to be false. Under the pretense of humility, it calls on Christians to submissively lay down before the golden idols of the modern age.
The blessed Archbishop Theophan of Poltava reveals – The most horrifying of all is to fear anything more than God, for by such fear the servant of truth will betray the teaching of faith and truth!
We are nowhere instructed to humble ourselves before falsehood or evil when it seeks to distort the Truth. Rather the truly humble Christian rises up and defends the faith when he sees it being attacked. St. Cyril of Alexandria tells us in very strong words, When the faith is being harmed then away with stale and fussy reverence for parents, then let the law of affection for children and brethren be set aside, and let men of reverence prefer death to life that “they may obtain a better resurrection,” as it is written (Heb. 11:35) (2nd Letter to Nestorius).
True humility is found in a willingness to let the Faith inform and transform, even transfigure, our mortal, mutable reason into immortal, eternal, and heavenly Reason. True humility is to valiantly and courageously hold to the Revelation of Faith in spite of the machinations of men. To quote again St. Cryril of Alexandria, Hold the acceptable doctrines which we have learned from the divine scripture, the faith which we received from the Fathers.
Demonic pride seeks to “improve and update” the eternal Revelation of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.
About the author
Husband, father, and Priest.
Schooling: Kharkov State University (Ukraine); Brownsville School of Ministry; St. Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary (M.Div.).
Author and illustrator of St. Patrick, Enlightener of the Irish Lands (Conciliar Press, out of print) and illustrator of The Life of St. Brigid (authored by Jane G. Meyer).
Proprietor and writer at the Inkless Pen Blog, at which, based on the foundation of the teachings of Orthodox Christianity, a wide variety of topics are addressed. Fr. Zechariah has translated some works by St. Dimitry of Rostov and New Hieromartyr Seraphim (Zvesdensky), these translations are also available on his blog.