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Talk About “Dazzled by Destroying Heresies”!

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Written by Basil on 09/7/2003 4:48 PM. Filed under:

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This is a letter I just wrote to the editors of the Lexington Herald-Leader, after having read about this article on James’ blog.

Dear editor,

In your article “Roman Catholics excommunicate suspended priest,” datelined Friday, September 5, there seems to be some deep confusion between two entirely separate churches.

The Orthodox Church in America ( is the result of Russian Orthodox missionary activity on this continent. Missionaries were first sent to the native peoples of Alaska, and the fruit of that work is still studied in seminaries — Orthodox and otherwise — as one of the best examples of respect for indigenous culture by Christian missionaries. After nearly two centuries of missionary work across the continent, the Orthodox Church in America was made self-governing by the Patriarch of Moscow. It continues to be fully affiliated with the other Orthodox churches and to teach the fulness of the Orthodox Catholic faith that they hold together. In a word, it continues to be a local manifestation of the one Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox Catholic Church of America (, by the admission of its website, holds positions that are contrary to the teachings of traditional Christianity. The short space of this letter does not permit me to comment on each idiosyncratic teaching, but a simple and diligent search of their own material will reveal in their own words which teachings are contrary to the teaching of the Christian Church.

In the context of the article, you mentioned the parish of St. Mychal the Martyr, a Lexington parish of the OCCA. By contrast, the parish of the Orthodox Church in America for the greater Lexington area is St. Athanasius Orthodox Church ( in Nicholasville.

(NFP: It should be apparent from the above that a correction should be run, since this is clearly a mistake of fact.)

Much can be said about how the love and compassion of Christ and his Church towards spirtitually wounded persons differs from the deceptive, counterfeit acceptance carte blanche of spiritually wounding actions. Unfortunately, such a discussion falls beyond the scope of this short letter.

Finally, the Orthodox Church does not trace its roots to the Great Schism any more than the Roman Catholic Church does. Both the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church trace their roots to the life, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his establishment of the Church through his apostles. Each Church holds that the catholic fulness of Christian faith is present within her boundaries, while refraining from judgment on those outside her administrative jurisdiction. For either Church to trace its roots to any schism would be to admit that it was divided from the Church that Christ founded.

I realize that reporting on Orthodox Churches can be bewildering, and the AP Stylebook is not very helpful in the matter. I hope this helps clear up some things that seemed confused in the article.


Kevin (Basil) Fritts
Choir Director
St. Athanasius Orthodox Church

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One Response to “Talk About “Dazzled by Destroying Heresies”!”

  1. James Says:


    Thank you for writing that letter. I knew there were many problems in that article, like saying that the Orthodox Church traces it’s beginning to the Great Schism, but I figured I would let someone more qualified write them. Thank you again.