Friday, December 22, 2017



On Thursday, December 21st, Fr. Thomas Janikowski of Western Rite Radio (formerly Quadcities Anglican Radio) drove a nine hour roundtrip to Omaha from Davenport, Iowa to visit our church and to interview the rector. Not only did he make the long drive, but he drove through rain and  a bit of freezing drizzle. 

Fr. Thomas attended the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist for the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was a Fast-free day because of the Feast, so Fr. Thomas, Subdeacon Michael and I went out to lunch at an Italian restaurant. . While at the restaurant, Fr. Thomas did a brief live video broadcast with Subdeacon Michael and I. You can see the video on the Facebook page of Western Rite Radio. I think you will enjoy it. 


After returning from lunch, Fr. Thomas broadcast a live thirteen minute video guided tour of our church facility and learned a little more about our parish. We hope that you will watch this informative video and share it with others. Everyone is always welcome at Holy Cross Orthodox Church! 

The video is titled, Live at Holy Cross… 

Just scroll down the Western Rite Radio Facebook page until you find the video. Here is the link:


After completing the video tour of Holy Cross Orthodox Church, Fr. Thomas and I sat down to do a 30 minute radio program. The title of the broadcast is Fr. Victor Novak on Church Planting! But we talked about a lot of other things as well. I enjoyed doing the broadcast with Fr. Thomas, and I think you will find the discussion both enlightening and inspirational. Here is the link:


Three new icon stands and a new Gothic bishop’s throne arrived today! We also received the last of four new beautiful icons that we had ordered for our temple. The lampadas are on back order so we will have to wait a little on them, but I have asked our St. Joseph’s Guild to begin assembling the new church furnishings and installing the new icons as soon as possible. The church already looks beautiful this Advent. It should be spectacular for Nativity (Christmas). To God be the glory!


This coming Sunday, December 24th, is the Third Sunday in Advent — Rose Sunday — according to the ancient ecclesiastical Calendar. The church looks beautiful, and the smell of pine is wonderful. We have a beautiful live Christmas tree, along with pine hangings, a large, free standing Advent Wreath, a Nativity Scene, and poinsettias. The temple is warm and inviting and will raise your spirits on high!

Sunday Christian Education is at 8:45 AM, followed by Matins at 9:15 AM, with the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM. Fellowship and refreshments in our parish hall follow the Liturgy. Visitors are always welcome. We are a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish and we have a place for you. I hope to see you on Sunday!


Every year we make improvements to our church facility, and this year is no different. However, church furnishings, icons, — everything that goes into improving our temple for the worship of Almighty God — costs money, a lot of money. In addition, we need to increase the amount and quality of our outreach, continue to build our lending library, put in new flooring and much more. 

We do not beg for money, threaten that our ministry is about to collapse, or try to nickel and dime the faithful, but at years-end we do often ask for your support. Every dollar given will go into our general church fund to be used as needed. 

We are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, building up the Body of Christ, and rebuilding the Western Church, — and we can use your help. We will make good use of every contribution received.

Please consider sending a special offering to help us in our work. The more extra money we can raise, the more we can do. Make your check out to: Holy Cross Orthodox Church and send it to:

Holy Cross Orthodox Church
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127

Thank you!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Dear friends in Christ,

I hope that our ministry is a blessing to you. The ministry of Holy Cross Orthodox Church is local, national, and even extends internationally, and I am writing to invite you to help us in our Work.

Holy Cross Orthodox Church is a vibrant and active parish located in the Ralston suburb of Omaha, Nebraska. We are a Western Rite parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), and are committed to outreach with the Gospel, rebuilding the Western Church, and to caring for those most in need. 

Our Mission Statement says that the mission of Holy Cross parish is “To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him, and the fullness of the Apostolic Faith to those who do.” So far in 2017, we have added thirteen new members from nine households to our parish, including three previously unchurched adults who we baptized into Christ. In 2016 we added eleven new members. We preach for conversion and deeper conversion from the pulpit, and our adult Christian education program is taught at the college level. We are bringing people to Christ and His Church, and equipping them for service.

We regularly support four area homeless shelters. We collect hundreds of pounds of much needed food throughout the year for the Open Door Mission and the Lydia House, and make regular deliveries to them — and every ounce is contributed from within our parish. Parish volunteers make weekly pickups of large quantities of donated gourmet bread and then make deliveries to the Francis and Siena House shelters every Friday. In the winter we partner with the Salvation Army and collect large quantities of new socks, mittens, gloves and hats for the homeless.

We have members in Western Iowa, Eastern Nebraska, and even Central Nebraska, with families that drive up to a six hour round trip to get to church. Why do they drive so far to get to church? Because they have found a church worth the drive!

Our work in advancing the Great Commission goes well beyond Nebraska and Iowa. It is a national and even an international outreach. We reach out through our blog, Fr. Novak’s Blog, our Holy Cross Parish Facebook page, our parish Website, video sermons posted on the Internet, as well as by telephone and email. An important part of our work is in reaching out to Orthodox-minded non-Orthodox clergy — most commonly traditional Anglicans — and helping them to come home to the Orthodox Church. These men in turn bring members of their flocks into the Church and plant new Western Rite Orthodox mission-churches. This ministry, often done by telephone and email, goes on every day.

We would like to invite you to support our Work with a year-end donation to Holy Cross Orthodox Church. We do not beg for money or ask for regular support, but at year-end we do ask for help.

Holy Cross parish is strategically located in the centre of the United States. It needs to continue to be a hub in the Work of advancing the Great Commission and rebuilding the Western Church. We are in the midst of renovating our church facility for the glory of God, need to expand both our electronic and low tech outreach and make them even more effective, build our lending library to enhance opportunities for education and spiritual growth, pay our ever increasing expenses, and much more. All contributions will go into our general fund to be used as needed. 

If you have been following our Work and have been blessed by it, you know how hard we work here. This is a ministry that goes on seven days a week and is worthy of your support. I hope that you will support our Work by generously contributing today. 

Please make your check out to Holy Cross Orthodox Church, and send it to: 

7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127

Whether or not you can support us financially, I sincerely ask for your prayers. Prayer is vital for our Work. Prayer changes things. 

We want to begin the new year strong so we can be even more effective in our various ministries. We hope you can help, and we will be looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Victor+

Fr. Victor Novak
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558

Friday, December 15, 2017



With the conversion of Fr. Thomas Janikowski (Diocese of Quincy, ACNA) to the Orthodox Church, Quadcities Anglican Radio has closed down, but Western Rite Radio will be launching very soon! 

WESTERN RITE RADIO is an Internet ministry of the ROCOR Western Rite Communities. It will function much like Ancient Faith Radio which is its inspiration. This will be a huge leap forward in our Work of rebuilding the Western Church and re-evangelizing the post-Christian West. 

Tell everyone you know! Please go to the Western Rite Radio Facebook page, "Like" it, and become a Follower. Help spread the Good News. Share it on your Facebook page. The Orthodox Church is on the move. It is a New Springtime. To God be the glory!

Here is the link:

Not on Facebook? Not to worry, you can visit the Western Rite Radio website!

Here is the link:

Remember, Western Rite Radio will be launching soon. It will feed your spirit, bless your soul, encourage you in your discipleship, and will be a wonderful tool for advancing the Work of the Great Commission. It will take our message world-wide!


Our bishop, Metropolitan Hilarion, recently had an insightful interview with the Russian media. He was in Russia earlier this month for the Council of Bishops meeting in Moscow that brought together more than 400 bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Moscow Patriarchate is growing rapidly and now totals some 180 million souls — that is about two and a half times the entire Anglican Communion!

Metropolitan Hilarion spoke about the Council of Bishops meeting, the preaching of Christ in today’s world, on the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and about Orthodox Christians in the United States. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is made up of Russian emigres and their descendants, along with a very large and growing number of converts.
In the interview Metropolitan Hilarion said, “The Anglican Church has broken apart, and many older clergymen are converting to Orthodoxy. We receive them. We ordain them so that they can serve as Orthodox pastors. Their flocks follow their conversion to Orthodoxy. I constantly get appeals from them, to receive them and ordain them. Of course, we prepare them first. But when we start to work with them, we realize that they have already studied a great deal about Orthodox Christianity.” 

Anglicans are the largest single group of converts to the Orthodox Church in the United States. They are everywhere. There are hundreds of Orthodox clergy in America who are former Anglican clergymen, and they are serving in both the Eastern and Western rites. When I am asked, Where have all of the Catholic Anglicans gone? My answer is always the same: To the Orthodox Church!

You will want to read the whole interview. It is titled, “Our Church is a Family.” Here is the link:

Our Church is indeed a family, and everyone is welcome!

Friday, December 8, 2017

ADVENT UPDATE - Holy Cross Orthodox Church


This Sunday, December 10th, is the First Sunday in Advent and the beginning of the Advent Season. The liturgical color is a royal purple as we prepare for the Coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords. The Advent Wreath is up, and our processional hymn will be, O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Advent and Christmastide are the most wonderful times of the year! 

Advent season precedes the Feast of the Nativity and consists of four Sundays, beginning on the Sunday nearest St. Andrew’s Day. Advent is a joyous season as we look forward to Christmas, but also a time for serious spiritual preparationLike Lent, it is a time to purify both soul and body as we prepare to properly enter into, and partake of, the great spiritual reality of Christ's Coming. This spiritual preparation includes both fasting and abstinence, which expands and intensifies in Advent.


While Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for the Feast of the Nativity or Christmas, we actually celebrate the Feast of the Nativity for twelve days — the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas. Christmas means "Christ’s Mass,”  and there can be no true celebration of the Nativity of Christ without participating in Christ’s Mass and receiving Him in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. We will begin our Christmas celebration with a traditional Midnight Mass, followed by a Christmas party in our parish hall. The Twelve Days of Christmas are the days to hold Christmas parties, have celebrations, invite family and friends to our homes, and visit others. There are no days of Fast or Abstinence during the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is a time of joyous celebration!

MARY’S FIAT (Proclamation)

“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:38).

God woos us, He does not force us to do His will. Mary responded with faith to the words of the Archangel Gabriel, and nine months later Jesus (Salvation) was born in Bethlehem. St. Irenaeus of Lyon (Gaul/France) was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who was himself a disciple of the Apostle John. In AD 175, St. Irenaeus wrote:

“Just as the former—that is, Eve—was seduced by the words of an [fallen] angel so that she turned away from God by disobeying his word, so the latter — Mary — received the good news from an angel's announcement in such a way as to give birth to God by obeying his word; and as the former was seduced so that she disobeyed God, the latter let herself be convinced to obey God, and so the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve. And as the human race was subjected to death by a virgin, it was liberated by a Virgin; a virgin's disobedience was thus counterbalanced by a Virgin's obedience...” — St. Irenaeus (AD 175).

As we can see from this quote from St. Irenaeus — a disciple of a disciple of the Apostle John —  the Theotokos, the Mother of God, played an important part in our salvation according to the understanding of the early Church, and according to the understanding of the Church throughout the centuries. 

Christ was conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was born in Bethlehem, but unless He is conceived in our hearts by faith and born into our lives the events of Christmas will do us no good. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem means “House of Bread” and Jesus is the Bread of Life. He has given us His very Body and Blood as Bread from Heaven to partake of, and unless we eat His flesh and drink his Blood we have no life in us. The early Church called the Sacrament of Holy Communion “the medicine of immortality.” May each of us make a good and spiritually profitable use of this holy season of Advent, and may we each come humbly, reverently, and with great thanksgiving  and joy to Christ’s Mass on the Feast of the Nativity to receive the Bread of Life.


I regularly post important news and videos on our Holy Cross Parish Facebook page. If you are not a follower of our parish Facebook page you are missing out on a lot of important and edifying information. Please go to the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page, “Like” it, and become a Follower it so you will be notified whenever something is posted. Here is the link:


Our latest donation to the Open Door Mission totaled 254 pounds of food! Thank you to everyone who contributed and to Paul N. Who made the delivery. Our parish food bins are now empty, but the needs remain and will grow with the colder weather, so let’s begin refilling our parish food bins on Sunday. Thank you!


Once again this year we are working with the Salvation Army to provide the homeless with desperately needed mittens and gloves. There is a box in the parish hall where you can put donated mittens and gloves for adults and (sadly) children. Who among us can imagine what it must be like to be homeless, especially homeless in the winter, homeless at Christmas? The thought is heartbreaking, but we can help. Wendy W. Is coordinating our Mitten and Glove drive. If you have any questions see Wendy. Please give generously.


There are beautiful home-made crafts for sale in our parish hall. The crafts are made by members of our parish Women’s group, the Sisters of Holy Cross, and the Craft Sale is a fund-raiser for the group. I do not know what we would do without the Sisters of Holy Cross. They are a vital ministry of our parish and they need funds for their work. Please do some of your Christmas shopping at their Craft table, buy these beautiful crafts for yourself, and support this important and worthy cause. Thank you!


Every year we improve and beautify our parish temple for the glory of God. This year there are a lot of improvements in the works. Our St. Joseph’s Guild is building a platform that will raise the altar and the priest’s step above the floor; new icons and lampadas are on their way, as are three new icon stands, a beautifully adorned Gospel book, and other important liturgical books. 

The sanctuary (altar area) will soon be opened up by removing the lectern and pulpit — we will use a portable pulpit instead —  giving us more space; and the bishop’s platform and chair will be permanently installed rather than simply brought out when we have an episcopal visit. In addition, we may be replacing our carpeting — which is wearing — with vinyl planking, and  putting linoleum in the bathroom off the chapel. This will not only improve the looks of our temple, but the acoustics as well — something that I know our Schola Cantorum and Cantor would appreciate and welcome!

Every year we undertake improvements to our church facility, and this year is no different, but such improvements cost money. I hope that you will support our improvements and the ongoing work of our church with a generous offering. 

If you are a friend of our parish living far from the Omaha area, but have been blessed by our Work in behalf of the Gospel and the rebuilding of the Western Church, I hope that you will also support us by sending an offering. This is indeed a worthy cause and we could use your help. Thank you!


We continue to work through a course of sixteen video classes given by Fr. Barnabas Powell called, Journey to Fullness. Everyone who is attending is receiving such a blessing from this class; and our class coordinator, Paul T., is offering some very helpful follow-up questions and leading the discussions. I hope that you will join us for this class at 8:45 AM on Sunday morning. You will be blessed.


Christian Education is at 8:45 AM, followed by Matins at 9:15 AM, with the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM. Fellowship and refreshments in our parish hall follows the Liturgy.

The Orthodox Church is the oldest Church in the world, the original Church, the Church founded by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself. It is unchanged and unchanging in Faith and Morals. These are indisputable facts of history. Insist on the original. Do not settle for a man-made substitute. The Church is for everyone, and everyone is always welcome. We are a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish, and we have a place for you. Come and see. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!



Fr. Victor Novak
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

LETTER TO A CATECHUMEN — A Letter that will be helpful to anyone interested in the Orthodox Church

Dear N___________, 

Attached are links to some material that I would like you to study as part of your final preparation for reception into the Orthodox Church. 

While you are well prepared for your reception, it is important that you have a clear understanding of the Orthodox teachings on Original/Ancestral Sin, the Atonement, the importance of the Septuagint Text of the Old Testament, and the problems with the Filioque Clause that was inserted into the Nicene Creed by the Roman Church in AD 1014. 

Trying to understand and embrace Orthodox Christianity without correcting some important post-Great Schism doctrinal misconceptions is like trying to put square pegs into round holes. So let’s take another look at these issues.

Original/Ancestral Sin

It is vital that Christians come to a proper understanding of the doctrine of Original/Ancestral Sin. If we get this fundamental doctrine wrong — as non-Orthodox Christians have — it will adversely affect our doctrinal understandings in other areas, including redemption and salvation.

Fr. Matthew Joyner gave an excellent presentation on Original/Ancestral Sin at the Western Rite Clergy Conference held in October of this year. I encourage you to carefully listen to his presentation courtesy of Quad Cities Anglican Radio which was broadcasting from the Conference. Here is the link:

The Atonement

Non-Orthodox Christians hold to the Substitutionary Atonement theory in two  primary forms: the Satisfaction Theory and the Penal Substitutionary Theory. They take the Substitutionary Atonement Theory that they have inherited for granted, and although it is only a theory — and a late one at that — assume that it is a Christian dogma and is what the early Church believed and taught.

The truth is though that these theories have their roots in the teachings of Anselm of Canterbury, an 11th century Norman Archbishop. Archbishop Anselm wrote a book titled, Why Did God Become Man?, in which he explained his innovative theory.

As Fr. James Bernstein, an Orthodox priest,  explains, “Anselm’s view of atonement has come to be called the ‘debt’ or ‘satisfaction’ theory. It was based in part on the concept of total depravity [stemming from a false understanding of Original/Ancestral sin], which holds that man’s sin against God (which is total) must be punished by God absolutely. According to this theory, God’s honor and justice demanded that to avoid punishment, the debt owed Him by the human race must be paid or satisfied. By ourselves we could not pay the debt owed God, because we are all fallen and sinful. Only Jesus Christ could pay what we owe to God, because He is sinless and perfect. In dying on the Cross, Christ completely paid this debt for each of us. If we believe in Jesus’ substitutionary atonement, then we are forgiven, and God is free to bestow on us His grace and mercy.”

The Protestant Reformers built on this theory and constructed the Penal Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement. Again, Fr. James Bernstein explains, “The Protestant Reformers built upon the satisfaction theory and developed a third theory of atonement called the 'penal substitutionary' theory. Whereas the debt/satisfaction theory emphasizes that Christ paid the debt that we owe God, the penal theory emphasizes that Christ received the punishment we deserve. In this view, justice demands that our sins be punished. In suffering and dying on the Cross, Christ received God’s punishment for us so that we no longer need to be punished. This view has gained great popularity and is perhaps the best known of the… non-Orthodox theories of atonement we have discussed so far.”

The Substitutionary Atonement in either its Satisfaction Theory or in its Penal Substitutionary Theory is built upon the word “satisfied” in Isaiah 53. However, the word “satisfied” is not found in Isaiah 53 in the Septuagint. In fact, Isaiah 53 reads very differently in the Septuagint than it does in the Masoretic Text.

The fact is that the Old Testament that the vast majority of Western Christians have in their Bibles is the Masoretic Text, although the Apostles and the early Christians used the Septuagint Version. They could not have used the Masoretic Text because it did not come into being until about a thousand years ago. The Septuagint on the other hand antedated the time of Christ by a couple of hundred years and is some 1200 years older than the Masoretic Text.

The New Testament frequently quotes from the Old Testament, but if you look up these quotes in the Old Testament itself, you will find that they often vary considerably from what is found in the New Testament. The New Testament writers were not misquoting the Old Testament Scriptures or paraphrasing them. The New Testament writers were quoting from the Septuagint, but most modern Bibles contain the Masoretic Text, — a Jewish text from nearly a thousand years after the time of Christ. 

The Orthodox Church uses the same Bible that the Apostles and early Christians used. Western Christians no longer do, and that is one of the reasons why their theology has often diverged from that of the Orthodox Church. They may be following their Bible, but they are not using the Bible that the Apostles and early Christians used.

The Protestant Reformers adopted the Masoretic Text because they assumed that the Jews knew best about the Old Testament, but they were wrong. The Septuagint is some 1200 years older than the Masoretic Text. Unfortunately, Rome later adopted the Masoretic Text as well in an effort to keep up with the Protestants. The Masoretic Text was never used by the Apostles or early Christians, is not part of the inheritance of the “undivided” Church, is only about a thousand years old, was unknown to the Christians of the first millennium, and is therefore contrary to the Vincentian Canon.

Both the Satisfaction Theory and the Penal Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement are post-Great Schism, were unknown in the “undivided” Church and have their roots in the 11th century. Therefore, these theories could not have been what the early Church believed and are not part of the Deposit of Faith. The Orthodox Church still holds to what the Church of the first millennium taught, and its teaching on redemption is indeed Good News.

For more information on the doctrine of Christ’s Death on the Cross for our salvation as taught by the Orthodox Church you will want to read the article, The Original Christian Gospel, by Fr. James Bernstein. Fr. James was born into an Orthodox Jewish family and came to faith in Christ as a young adult. He was an early member and leader of the well-known Messianic Jewish ministry called Jews for Jesus. He later entered the Orthodox Church where he now serves as a priest. I know that you will find this article very helpful. Here is the link:

The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament

The Orthodox Church has always held to the use of the Septuagint Old Testament, and to the wider Canon which includes the Deuterocanonical Books. All Christians everywhere did so until after the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The Septuagint and the wider Canon was the Bible of the “undivided” Church and remains the Bible of the Orthodox Church today. 

The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Holy Scriptures made by Seventy (or seventy-two) Jewish scholars some two centuries before the birth of Christ. For centuries Greek was the lingua franca of the ancient world, even in the Holy Land, so use of the Greek Old Testament was widespread among the Jewish communities.

Western “scholars” used to criticize the Orthodox Church for its unwavering commitment to the Septuagint, but time has proven the Orthodox Church to be right. The Jewish Study Bible (Oxford University Press) says, “A significant legacy of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is related to their attestation to the reliability of ancient translations. It is no longer possible to argue that differences from the MT  [Masoretic Text] preserved in the ancient translations… reflect intentional changes introduced by the translator rather than a different underlying text… Readings from the ancient translations hitherto regarded as questionable have now been shown to preserve authentic Hebrew ones” (pp. 1922-1923).

Is it any wonder that post-schism Western Christians have deviated from the teachings of the Orthodox Church when you realize that they are using a Bible that is different from what was used in the “undivided” Church, was unknown to the early Christians, and that reads very differently in many places? 

If you have not already read, Which Bible is Better? How to compare versions of the Bible, by Fr. Joseph Gleason, you need to read this book. Fr. Joseph Gleason was an Anglican priest and pastored a parish of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). He later became an Orthodox priest serving a Western Rite parish. You can get this “Must Read” book, Which Bible is Better for only $7.95. You can order it here:

Orthodox Christians are serious students of the Holy Scriptures, and have a large and ever growing number of commentaries — both from the Fathers and from modern Orthodox writers — as well as other Bible Study materials available to them. In addition, we have the Orthodox Study Bible. If you do not already own a copy of the Orthodox Study Bible, please purchase one now.  You can order it here:

The Filioque Clause

It is also very important that you understand the Filioque Clause that was inserted in the Nicene Creed in the West. Its insertion into the Nicene Creed was pressed by Charlemagne (the Western, or Holy Roman, Emperor) and his successors, but long resisted by Rome. Rome finally inserted the Filioque Clause into the Creed in 1014, precipitating the Great or Papal Schism in 1054.

Archbishop Joseph Raya, Melkite (Eastern Rite Roman Catholic) Archbishop of Akka, Haifa, Nazareth and Galilee wrote, 

“To prevent anyone ever to misinterpret or alter the words of the Creed — which could lead to heresy and destruction of the faith — the Council fathers declared ‘anathema,’ or condemnation on anyone who would ever ‘add to it, or take away from it any word.’ Yet, by his own personal authority, Charlemagne added the word ‘Filioque,’ making the Creed read: ‘Who proceeds from the Father and the Son.’ He imposed the addition upon all the Churches of the West by force of arms. The Church of Rome refused it, and did not add it to its Creed.

“There was no immediate reaction from Constantinople. The Byzantines must have been amused at seeing a ‘Barbarian’ playing a game of absolutism of power and bad taste in theology” (Byzantine Church and Culture, Alleluia Press, p. 41).

In 1014, Rome also adopted the Filioque Clause, falling under the anathema of the Third Oecumenical Council. “In the eleventh century, the addition of the ‘filioque’ became a point of doctrinal contention between East and West. Michael Cerularius [Patriarch of Constantinople] accused the West of heresy; the West retorted by accusing the East of heresy; they excommunicated each other” (ibid, Raya, pp. 41-42). 

It is obvious, of course, who changed the Creed and who preserved it unchanged, and therefore who fell into heresy and schism and who remained Orthodox Catholics.

Before becoming Orthodox I had long understood that the Filioque Clause was an unauthorized addition to the Nicene Creed that caused the Great schism and therefore had to be removed, but I had never studied its doctrinal implications. Like many others, I knew that the Filioque Clause was added unilaterally and without Catholic consent, and that it led to the Great Schism of 1054, but I had had never studied how it affected Trinitarian theology. 

The Third Oecumenical Council placed an anathema on anyone who would tamper with the Nicene Creed, and Rome’s tampering with it led to Rome’s fall from Catholic unity, but the Filioque is much more than a canonical infraction — it is heresy. The Filioque leads to an Arian subordinationism of the Holy Spirit. Due to the Filioque, the Holy Spirit became the all but forgotten person of the Holy Trinity in the West until the 20th century when the pendulum swung back to the other extreme leading to the excesses of the Charismatic Movement. You will want to read the article, Filioquism is Arian Subordinationism Applied to the Spirit. Here is the link:

Please study these materials. When you are finished we can talk about them. The Orthodox Church is the oldest Church in the world, the original Church, the only Church established by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is still rooted in Jerusalem and the Middle East, is unchanged and unchanging after 2,000 years, still holding firmly to the Faith of the Apostles and Church Fathers, and still using the Bible used by the Apostles and Church Fathers. 

Please feel free to share this letter with family and friends. The Orthodox Church welcomes everyone.



Fr. Victor Novak
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558

This Letter to an actual Catechumen at Holy Cross parish has been adapted for the benefit of other readers.