V.Rev. Dr. Michael Azkoul:


    We cannot be certain to what extent Augustine was indebted to his Manichean past. The Pelagians accused him of "Manichean fatalism" (i.e., predestination) and "pessimism" concerning human nature. Professor Hans Eibel describes the young Augustine as not unlike so many of his generation, looking to Manicheism for peace of mind. It failed them, primarily because its dualism, the incessant clash between flesh and spirit, only intensified their pain and confusion. Then Augustine, as others, turned to the Academicians for "answers," but could not find them there. Finally, he discovered Plotinos — "Da fand er durch Victorinus den Weg zum NeuP1atonismus."1 (13)
    One may wonder at the relative ease with which he passed from Manicheism, Academic Skepticism to Neo-Platonism; and, indeed, that he could incorporate elements of Origenism into his philosophy and theology. Both the Platonists and the Manicheans taught Augustine to give "unqualified assent" to the value of the invisible world and the truth it surrendered, as one historian observed.2 (14) But the same may be said of Origenism and the Academics, albeit the latter through its disparagement of logic and the senses.
    Each source, each stage through which Augustine passed reinforced the others. For example, the Manicheans distinguished between their own members ("the sons of mystery," "the enlightened") and the "worldly" ("the sons of darkness," "the uninitiated"); and also among themselves, between the "elect" (perfecti) and "learners" (auditores). These distinctions resembled the Christian classification of "the Faithful" and "the catechumens," that is, between "the baptized" or "enlightened" inculcated with the disciplina arcani, eligible for the Mysteries or Sacraments; and those preparing for admission to the Church, "the unbaptized" or "the unenlightened" believers.
    Christianity called for the separation of the Church from the "world," "the race of Christ" from "race of Adam" (cf. 2Cor.6:14-18); and as a Christian, Augustine understood the antithesis between the Church and the world, between those "in Christ" and those waiting to become Christians through the mystagogical rite of initiation; and he used this knowledge to the advantage of his peculiar ecclesiology and soteriology. In a word, he was the first Orthodox writer to divide the Church between those of her children in possession of common or "sufficient grace" and those blessed with "efficacious grace," the grace which works infallibly in the will of the "elect" to save them.3 (15)
    All Christians have "sufficient grace," Augustine said, the grace by which our freedom is restored, the grace to "cooperate" (gratia cooperans) with God; the grace to choose between good and evil; but, yet, only certain individuals among the members of the Church will be saved according to the eternal and hidden decree of God. Thus, "sufficient grace," "the grace of cooperation," or even "prevenient grace" is not the grace by which we are elected. The "grace of perseverance" — the "irresistible" and "efficacious grace" — is the grace of salvation. Very simply, members of the Church, the saved and the damned are called and abandoned by God "according to His Purpose." "Many" are called, but only a "few" are chosen."4 (16)
    The Church, contrary to Augustine, has always proclaimed herself the refuge of "all" ("the many"), not merely an elect "few." Christ is the universal Saviour: He represented the entire human race on the Cross and died for the sins of all, rising from the dead for all. God "wills that all men be saved one come to the knowledge of the truth" for which reason saving grace is offered to all, a grace which exclude: no person from the promises of the Messiah, the God-Man.
    Such, however, was not the mind of Augustine, Like Plato and Plotinos, Mani and the Academics, he proposed an "elitism": salvation for the "few." These "few" are saved unconditionally by the grace of God, which He has irresistibly imposed on them. The "few' are "the sons of God" who gradually distance themselves from material things, things to which Adam's sin has subjected them. By grace, the saved escape the bondage of the flesh.
    Although Augustine did not equate sin or moral evil with matter, he always had a certain disdain of the physical, not the least of which was sex.5 (17) He seems to have first publicly mentioned the idea that the guilt of "original sin" comes through the sexual act during his debate with Pelagius.6 For Augustine, sex was evil, but tolerable within the married state, that is, marriage was instituted by God for purpose o restraining the concupiscence (contra concupiscentiae pugnet).7 "Faithful spouses use this evil well," he once commented, "yet the offspring generated from this evil contract guilt" (Hoc einm male bene utuntur fideles conjugati, et ex hoc qui generantur reatum trahunt).8 (20)
    Later modifying these remarks, he said, "not that children coming from an evil action are evil, since, I do not argue that the purpose of begetting of children is evil. As a matter of fact, I assert that it is good, because marriage makes good use of evil lust, and through this good use, human beings, a good work of God, are produced." So that it would not appear that he contradicted himself, Augustine added that the sexual act "is not performed without evil," inasmuch as it is the means by which an evil, Adam's guilt, is transmitted to those born of sexual generation and for which reason, incidentally, children are regenerated in Baptism (quia bene utitur libidinis malo, per quod generantur homines bonum opus Dei; non sine malo propter quod regenerandi sunt, ut laberantur a malo.)9 (21)
    Augustine represented his doctrine to Julian, Bishop of Eclanum as the Faith of the Catholic Church, a doctrine "which the Fathers most evidently defended against you before you were born; so we assert that, no matter when he was born, the infant, innocent of personal sin, is guilty of the original sin."10 (22) His opponent rightly denied Augustine's theory, asserting that he had derived it from an extra-Christian source: Manicheism. One might also argue that Manicheism, although the principal source, was not alone in producing in Augustine a contempt for matter and sex. Origenists and Neo-Platonists were also ashamed to wear a body.
    Unfortunately, Julian, if we may trust the extant writings, seems not to have assessed the other moral and metaphysical sources of Augustinianism. His quotes from the Fathers were ineffectual, mainly because he made them spokesmen for Pelagian monergism and autosoterism. Augustine countered with patristic phrases and paragraphs of his own and made them speak for him. The Fathers, Greek and Latin, became advocates of "original sin" as well as "irresistible grace" and "predestination" in his hands as they were champions of absolute human autonomy and moral perfectibility in the hands of the Pelagians.


1.  "The Augustinian Conception of Grace," in
Studia Patristica II, pp. 268-269.
2. Ibid., p. 264.
3.  ibid., p. 258.
4. J.W. Trigg says that "Augustine's immensely influential handling of Biblical symbols was in the Origenist tradition" (Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third Century, Atlanta, 1973, p. 251). One cannot be certain whether by "Origenist tradition" Trigg means "allegorism" or "typology". Origen used both. That Augustine understood the Scriptures in more than one sense, including the literal, is not the reason for our criticism of his Scriptural exegesis; it is rather the twisting of texts to fit his doctrinal innovations.
5.  Gen. ad. litt. I, 11, 4-6 PL 34 248-249; and Origen, Hom, In Gen. I, 2 PG 12 147A-149B.
6. See N.P. Williams, The Ideas of the Fall and of Original Sin, p. 320.
7.   When he reviewed this work in his Retractions, Augustine was alarmed by its kinship to Origen's eschatology, most especially the idea of a universal purgatory. He made some revisions
(I, vii, 6 PL 32 593-594).
8.  Augustine strongly censured Origen for characterizing the body as a "prison of the soul" and the physical world as created to punish disobedient spirits. For his friend, Orosius, Augustine wrote the treatise, Contra Priscillianistas et Origenistas in 415; and later, De anima et eius origine (420). The theme of these works Augustine had already explained in a letter to his close friend, Januarius (400). It was later entitled, De incarnatione Verbi. See also Gen. ad litt. X, 11, 19 415-416.
9.  As early as 395, when Augustine published De libero arbitrio, he was confronted with four possibilities concerning the origin of the soul:  it is propagated from the souls of the parents;
 it is created by God with the body; 3) it is created separately and only later placed in the body; 4) created souls exist independently from the body with which it chooses to unite. Which theory best supports the theory of Augustine's idea of "original sin"? He "inclined toward the first view, later called 'spiritual traducianism' or 'generationism', since he thought it accounted better for the transmission of original sin, without impairing the goodness and justice of God (Ep. 166.3, 6-5, 14). On the other hand, it does not readily account for the sinlessness of Christ (Ep. 167. 7)" (J.M. Colleran's translation and annotation of St Augustine, the Greatness of the Soul and The Teacher, in Ancient Christian Writers [vol.9], Westminster [Md.], 1950, p. 195).
10.  Contra Faust. XXVI, 4-5 PL 42 481-482. "Foreknowledge and predestination both became causative and inescapable [for Augustine]," observes Henry Chadwick, "and some careful reinterpretation of the concept of free choice became necessary, if predestination was to retain morality" ("Christian Platonism in Origen and in Augustine," in Origenia Tertia: the Third International Colloquium for Origen Studies [The University of Manchester, 7th-llth, 1981], ed. by R. Hanson & H. Crouzel, Rome, 1985, p. 225).


Why does  St Photios the gGeat mention Augustine in a positive manner?  St Photios struggled long and hard against the filioque, but Augustine was the author of this heresy.
    In St Photios' Myrobiblion we discover that in fact, he had never read any writings of Augustine.  He did, however, read in translation a history of the Council of Carthage held in A.D. 416, which finally had received certification at the sixth ecumenical Council (canon 2). Augustine is mentioned as a participant at that council, and for this reason St Photios mentions him in a positive fashion.
    In his writings against the filioque St Photios presents three possibilities.  There was an opinion among some scholars of the day that Augustine's writing had been adulterated and altered by later heretical teachers.  This is a presupposition that was long ago disproved.  Other opinions held that, while he had taught serious heresies, he had repented of all of them, while others held that Augustine taught the filioque in ignorance, but had repented of it before his death.  He held that, if these none of these suppositions were true, then Augustine was, indeed, heretical. Perhaps if the Byzantine scholars of that era had studied Augustine more carefully they would have been shocked to find that he also taught double predestination, the total depravity of mankind, the dark doctrine of Original Sin (i.e., genetic guilt), purgatory, limbo, the absence of God-the-Word in the old Testament theophanies, and juridicalism --- a repertoire of very serious and destructive heresies.
    The Council of Carthage, following the ritual formula of all church councils, refers to the participants as " the fathers" or " the holy fathers".  Thus the Arian Eusebius is referred to as one of the " holy fathers" who gathered for the Council of Antioch (see canon 2 of Ecumenical Six).  Nestorius of Constantinople may have been referred to as "his all holiness" but he was still condemned for corrupting the teaching about our redemption.  Augustine most certainly did corrupt the doctrine of salvation.
    One must remember that St Athanasios the Great thought that Origen had been Orthodox, but that his writings had been corrupted by others.  Nevertheless, Origen taught the transmigration of souls, the pre-existence of souls and a form of reincarnation in addition to some quite inspiring and sounder writings.  St Athanasios was wrong.  Origen's heresies were eventually condemned at the Fifth Ecumenical Council.
    In like manner, St Maximos the Confessor defended Pope Honorius I (who was, by that time, dead) with the notion that the Pope had only overstressed a point, rather than intending a heresy.  However, Pope Honorius had taught a serious heresy and was condemned for a the Sixth Ecumenical Council.
    Incidentally, the purported mention of Augustine in a positive manner in the minutes of the Fifth Ecumenical Council is questionable.  By the time of the council of Florence, the original minutes no longer existed.  The only version available was a redacted version kept at the Vatican.  It had been edited by the Vatican and it is not dependable.


    There were holy fathers in the West who opposed the teachings and mindset of Augustine very early. These Orthodox fathers in Gaul (France) and other parts of the West condemned many of Augustine's teachings, and some of them sponsored Councils to condemn some of them. Among these holy fathers of the Church were Saint John Cassian, Saint Hilary of Arles, Saint Vincent of Lerins, Saints Honoratus and Gennadius of Marseilles, Saint Faustus of Riez (who was the teacher of Saint Patrick of Ireland and Saint Lupe of Troyes) and Saint Arnobius the Younger. These condemnations were written as early as the 380s while Augustine was still alive, and into the 400s. Augustine did not die until 430, and St Vincent of Lerins' refutation of Augustine, The Commonitory, was written in 434. It cannot, therefore, be claimed that these refutations were based on later accretions in his works by his disciples. Saint Hilary became Bishop of Arles in 429, succeeding Saint Honoratus, also a critic of Augustine.
    All these Orthodox fathers were labelled as "Semi-pelagians" by the disciples of Augustine. Both Augustine and his disciples opposed the Orthodox Christian doctrine of synergism. Augustine held that the will of man is not actually involved in his salvation since each person is predestined by God either for salvation or damnation. Only the will of God and a created species of grace which is "irresistible" are involved. The Orthodox holy fathers, on the other hand, taught that salvation is wrought through a cooperation (synergism) of man's will with God's. Man has freedom of will and he is capable of rejecting God's offer of salvation. Moreover, grace is an uncreated energy of God, not something created in various species.
    To the doctrine of predestination taught by Augustine and his followers such as Lucidus, Saint Faustus responded that those who ascribe salvation entirely to the will of man (Pelagius) or to irresistible grace (Augustine) fall into heathen folly. In a letter to Lucidus he wrote:

    We assert that whoever is lost is lost by his own volition, but that he could have obtained salvation by grace had he cooperated with it. On the other hand, whoever, by means of [this]  cooperation attains perfection may, of his own fault, his own negligence, fall and lose it and [become] lost. Certainly we exclude all personal boasting, for we declare that all that we have has been gratuitously received from God's hand. (Epistle to Lucidus, PL.53, 683)

    Some defenders of Augustine within the Orthodox Church in recent times made the astonishing assertion that Saint Faustus venerated Augustine. In fact, as C.J. Hefele points out, "Faustus carries on a continuous warfare against Augustine." (A History of the Councils of the Church, Vol.4, Edinburgh, 1895, p.24) In 475, the Council of Arles condemned Augustine's teaching of predestination. The Council of Lyons, under Archbishop Saint Patinius, did the same. The followers of Augustine branded the Orthodox Christian holy fathers "Semi-pelagians." They had so little understanding of the Apostolic teachings and the words of Scripture as understood by the Church. The debate continued through the centuries, and down to our own time. In 829, the Council of Paris again condemned Augustine's teaching of irresistable grace and re-affirmed the Orthodox Christian doctrine of synergism. At the Council of Mainz in 848, under Saint Hincmar, Augustine's doctrine of double predestination was again condemned. Even now, in the 21st century, one of the many major divisions in Protestantism is over the question of predestination and irresistable grace.
    The doctrine of double predestination was one of the most serious of Augustine's heresies. It has had far-reaching repercussions, and it has been the cause of many in the West turning away from Christ. In our own era, among those sectarian denominations that officially espouse the doctrine, it is either ignored or played down because even they suspect that there is something seriously wrong with it.

(Next: Can we have a personal relationship with God, or can we know Him only in types and symbols? Since we cannot approach His Essence, how shall we realise the words of Apostle Peter that we are to become "Partakers of the Divine nature"? (2Pt.1:4).


As we continue our study of Augustine of Hippo, we will look at two aspects of his teachings in this segment. (A) We will examine briefly the reasons why he was omitted from the Orthodox Christian list of saints and holy fathers for more than 1500 years and then we will examine (B) Seven of his heretical teachings which thoroughly corrupted Western Christian doctrine and mindset. These seven are begrudgingly acknowledged even by his most fanatical proponents in the Orthodox Church, although they attempt by every unconvincing sophism imaginable to explain them away. Having examined these doctrines which are universally acknowledged as heretical in the Orthodox Church, we will move on to the deeper, more all pervading spirit and mindset of Augustine that totally corrupted Christianity in the West, and which are beginning, through the agency of some shallow thinkers in the Orthodox Church today to invade theological writings within the Church. 

"Beyond any doubt the most ironic tragedy in history is that Western theologians, and finally an illusionist papacy turned Augustine's endeavour into an infallible accomplishment and brought about the final touches of a separation which was long in the making” (Fr. John Romanides)




THE MARK of the genuine Church of Christ is the true Faith which She holds and the free and open discussions which may take place in Her concerning the dogmas we have received from our Fathers. This helps us gain a deeper understanding of the treasure we have inherited and keeps us free from any heresy. In this spirit, therefore, we present to you the following report on Bishop Augustine of Hippo (351-430) and his relationship to our Orthodox Faith, believing it to be of considerable significance to us in these modern times. In it we shall attempt to demonstrate: (1) Why he has been historically excluded from the list of the saints by the Holy Orthodox Church, (2) the heretical status of at least eight of his teachings, and, (3) his role as the fountainhead of the Western heresies.


The works of Augustine, who wrote only in Latin, were originally disseminated only throughout the West. His beliefs regarding Original Sin, grace, predestination, and free will, were not part of the Apostolic Tradition, yet he claimed scriptural authority for his doctrines. He ravaged the Scriptures with his misleading interpretations and diverged from the tradition of the Fathers. He acknowledged that there were differences between him and Christian writers of his time, but he dismissed it as the result of circumstance. He appointed himself to use the tools of his Graeco-Roman culture to bring out all the rational associations of the Faith. Some Orthodox people today who revere Augustine attempt to dismiss all his errors by saying that all his works were corrupted, but this cannot be substantiated by any proof whatsoever.

Almost as quickly as his ideas were made known, both he and his views were denounced by holy fathers dwelling in those regions at that time. In the East, though Augustine lived near Egypt during a time when many saints were flourishing there and their lives were being prolifically recorded, there lies a conspicuous silence regarding his life— something unexpected for anyone considered to be a saint and a renowned theologian of Orthodoxy. Rather about the only thing we can determine as to how he was received by the local Orthodox community, is that the Monastery of Hardrumentum in his see was greatly troubled by his teachings.1 But let us now substantiate these claims with a little more history.

In the West, Augustine's theory of Original Sin evoked consternation everywhere, but most especially among the monks of Southern Gaul (France). The leader of the monks was St. John Cassian (commemorated Feb. 29th), who had been ordained to the diaconate by St. John Chrysostom and instructed by the desert fathers of Egypt. Through his monastic movement and his writings in this field and on Christology, he had a strong influence on the Church in Old Rome. He took exception to Augustine's views on God, man, and grace, saying he had audaciously passed beyond the limits set by divine revelation. In this he was joined by St. Vincent of Lerins (comm. May 24th), St. Hilary of Arles, St. Honoratus, hermit of Lerins (comm. January i6th), St. Gennadius of Marseilles, and St. Faustus of Riez (Rhegium), the ecclesiastical writer Arnobius the younger, and the Churches of Britain and Ireland.

In the East, before and after the falling away of the see of Rome, we find Augustine with neither followers, nor authority. No Ecumenical Synod honoured him as St. Gregory of Nyssa was honoured with the title "Father of Fathers" by the Seventh Ecumenical Synod. The Fourth Ecumenical Synod listed Augustine among "the holy Fathers of the Third Ecumenical Synod." But we know that he did not attend this Synod because he had died ten months earlier! His name was on a list of bishops that was either outdated when the Third Ecumenical Synod was summoned, or it was inserted in the record by someone for their own purpose.i He was never hailed as "the Great" or "the Theologian." Neither is there a feast day, nor churches erected in his honour, nor troparia composed for him (until our own times), nor sons named for him (as some were named for St. Augustine of Canterbury, "Enlightener of England"), nor icons to his memory, nor mention in the ancient books of the saints, such as the tenth century Menologia of St. Symeon Metaphrastes, the Tcheti Minei of Metropolitan Makari (d. 1564), nor later in the Menaion of St. Dimitri of Rostov. We have no knowledge of any miracles either performed or connected with his grave, no fragrance of sanctity emanating from his body. The only thing we do know about his death is that he died reciting a passage from the pagan philosopher Plotinus.2

With regard to Greek Christendom, it was in his time that the first symptoms of the coming rift between the Churches had appeared. He accepted the Nicene Creed, but seldom refers to it. The Constantinopolitan Creed is not mentioned in his writings. His influence on Greek Christianity is slight. Of his own knowledge of Greek he speaks slightingly. His anti-Pelagian stand was known in the East, but in 415 Palestinian bishops, at the synods of Jerusalem and Diospolis, disapproved of his views.

Some Church Fathers of the Roman Empire in the East (Patriarchs Photios and Gennadios II Scholarios, and Metropolitan Mark of Ephesus) referred to him as "blessed" and "father." Their appellation, however, was based on references to Augustine in the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Synod, but their knowledge of his life and doctrine was severely limited. Saint Photios had only a vague knowledge of his writings, and read only fragments of Augustine, supplied by the Carolingians. In early youth St. Gennadios read two or three books of Augustine, but rejected him later in life. Saint Mark knew nothing of him, except what he read during the Council of Florence (1437). None of them ever studied Augustine.3

Only in the l3th-l4th c. did interest in Augustine arise in the East. Maximos Planoudes, the Kydones brothers, and Manuel Kalekas translated and studied his works. Kalekas was anathematized by the Orthodox Councils of the fourteenth century, together with Barlaam and Akindynos, whose theology was Augustinian.i With the fall of Constantinople, wealthy Greeks fled to the West where their sons were educated in European universities. A new interest in Augustine awakened. In the seventeenth century, Augustine began attracting some attention among the Eastern Orthodox. During the time of Peter the Great (1672-1725) and his love for all things western, Augustine was introduced into Russian seminaries. When the Calvinist-minded Patriarch Cyril Lukaris (1660-1702) wrote his Confession of Faith, he had borrowed heavily from the ideas of Augustine. This book was condemned as a collection of "Western innovations" by the Orthodox Synods of Constantinople (1638, 1672), Jassey (1641-2), and Bethlehem (1672). Underlying Lukaris' entire work was the theology of Calvin which, as F.L. Battle explains in his introduction to Calvin's Institutes, is little more than a systematized presentation of Augustinianism.

Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (1749-1809) was given select paragraphs of Augustine's writings by certain Uniate visitors. Impressed with the extracts, Nicodemos placed Augustine's name in the Greek Synaxaristes (June 15th), with a troparion by Michael Kritoboulos. Nicodemos assumed that the doctrinal errors were the work of forgers, though there is no evidence to indicate that. The truth is though that Nicodemos knew very little about Augustine. In 1968 the State Church of Greece added Augustine's name to the Church Calendar. Other Churches followed that example.4

Let us now consider sevenof the more pervasive teachings of Augustine which became the source of heresies, namely: (1) the Filioque, (2) Original Sin, (3) the redefining of baptism, (4) predestination and irresistible grace, (5) the disavowal of free-will, (6) confusion in understanding the differences between essence and hypostases and the energies of the Holy Trinity, (7) theophanies and created energies,. 

Augustine was the author of the Filioque, that heresy which eventually cut off the West from the Orthodox Church. Even after the Second Ecumenical Synod, Augustine was emphatically teaching: "God the Father is He from Whom the Word is born and from Whom the Holy Spirit principally proceeds. I have used the word ‘principally,' so that it may be understood that the Spirit proceeds from the Son also."5..."The Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Father into the Son and then proceed from the Son for our sanctification; but He proceeds from Both at the same time, although the Father has given this to the Son, that just as the Holy Spirit proceeds from Himself, so He also proceeds from the Son."6

However, in the Gospel it is written: But when the Comforter comes, Whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth Who proceedeth from the Father, that One shall testify of Me (John 15:26). Saint Photios the Great has shown in The Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit that this doctrine of the Filioque gives that power which characterizes the Father—generation—to both the Father and Son. Thus the Father loses what makes Him Father and the Son has a characteristic added to His hypostasis, making Him superior to the Father. Therefore, in Augustine's way of thinking the Father loses what makes Him Father, and the Son has a power added to His hypostasis. Further on, as St. Photios comments, "Thus the enemies of God...make the Son greater than the Spirit, by reason of being His cause...What can be found more blasphemous or more insane than this?"8 The Filioque, according to Saint Photios, is the offspring of the devil, the enemy of the human race.9

Saint Mark Evgenikos spoke to the Latins in council at Florence regarding the disputed scriptural passage (Jn. 15:26), saying, "Here, by three expressions, our Saviour has placed the three divine Persons in their relation to each other. Of the Spirit, He says, ‘When the Comforter is come'; of Himself with the Father, He says, ‘Whom I will send unto you from the Father'; and then, of the Father alone, he says, ‘Who proceedeth from the Father.' Do you not see a strict exactness in the divine doctrine? He did not say, ‘the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from Us.'...Consequently, no Filioque can be implied here." The great Metropolitan of Ephesus also added that the addition to the Creed was the first cause of schism.'10

Augustine taught that Adam's "Original Sin" energized all his unlawful desires. This "Original Sin," he said, "has passed on to all men through the seed of man by the procreation of the flesh; and only those who, by Christ, are regenerated in their souls out from the body's defilement within are saved." His claim is asserted in the following quotes:

"Adam bound his offspring also with the penalty of damnation, an offspring bound with the sin by which he had corrupted himself... so that his progeny, born through fleshly concupiscence, received the fitting retribution for his disobedience.... (The) human race was burdened with Original Sin throughout the ages, burdened with the manifold errors and sorrows down to the final and endless torment with the rebel angels."11

And, "Owing to one man all passed into condemnation who are born to Adam, unless they are reborn in Christ, even as God has appointed to regenerate them before they die in the body. For He has predestinated some to everlasting life as the most merciful Bestower of grace; while to those whom He predestinated to eternal death, He is the most righteous Awarder of punishment. They are punished not only on account of the sins which they add by the indulgence of their own will, but on account of the Original Sin, even if, as in the case of infants, they had added nothing to that Original Sin. Now this is my definite view on the question, so that the hidden things of God may keep their secret, without impairing my own faith."12

Further on he writes: "Even if there were in men nothing but Original Sin, it would be sufficient for their condemnation."13

According to Augustine of Hippo, without a conversion in God's wrathful disposition towards man, in which He withheld grace and forgiveness, there could be no alteration in man's state. Mankind was guilty, depraved, and bereft of grace by a punitive divine decision. Christ came in order to annul the just wrath of God,14 so that grace and benevolence may flow again. Augustine maintained that God, in His wrath and vengeance, justly decreed death upon Adam and all who were lying under this wrath by reason of Original Sin.15 Everyone bears guilt which he incurs at birth,16 and "is in the bonds of inherited guilt."17 And, all "are justly subject to the bondage in which the devil holds them."18 Both Protestants and Roman Catholics believe that Christ died on the Cross to turn the anger of God away from guilt-laden mankind and to Himself. They argue that the first man, Adam, sinned against God, and the guilt for his offense, and therefore, God's wrath, was passed on to all the generations that followed. Atonement was demanded for both Adam and personal sins.19

How contrary this is to Orthodoxy! For we do not teach God predestined the fall of any man because of Augustine's idea of Original Sin, but rather, He allows all men to freely choose life or death.

Saint Gregory Palamas says:

We must understand from His words that God did not make death (Wis.1:13), either of the body or of the soul. For when He first gave the command, He did not say, "On the day you eat of it, die," but In the day you eat of it, ye shall surely die (Gen.2:17). He did not say afterwards, "Return now to the earth," but ye shall return (Gen. 3:19), foretelling in this way what would come to pass.20

According to Saint Paul: Sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; so also death passed to all men, inasmuch as all have sinned (Rm. 5:12). However, we do not inherit the guilt of Adam. We do not inherit his sin, but the propensity to sin. Saint Ambrose agrees, and says, "Our iniquity is one thing, the other our heel wherein Adam was wounded by the tooth of the serpent, a wound bequeathed to all of Adam's issue, a wound by which we all go limping...this iniquity of my heel surrounds me, but this is Adam's iniquity not mine."21 Man's freedom is restricted by his corruption, which is sewn into the fabric of human nature, but is not abolished.22

And as for what we have inherited from Adam as a consequence of his transgression, it was not any kind of sin or guilt; but rather, as Orthodoxy teaches, we have inherited his substance and therefore his mortality. Adam sinned and he, along with his posterity are subject to death. For all sin and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and the sting of death is sin (1Cor. 15:56). Mortality is the cause of human corruption, that is the passions, which are the dynamics of sin. Human sinfulness confirms mortality. Thus, we sin, because we die, and, necessarily, we die as a consequence of our sins.23

Saint Paulinus of Nola explains that "the earthly corruption, that ancestral venom descended from Adam, infecting the whole human race, remains in me."24 But God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ (2Cor.5:19). Only the incarnate Lord "could prevail against the sentence of death and the ‘sting of death' to ‘blot out the bond written in ordinances against us' [Col. 2:14] of death and to humble the crafty one."25 God became man to deliver the creature from the power of the devil who controls humanity through death, whose "sting" is sin. Death is our legacy, but Christ conquered the Evil-One and death, and gave us the grace by which to attain life everlasting.26 And He gave us not grace alone, but His own humanity with it as a new leaven and power of regeneration of the whole man. By dying to the old man we are reborn in Christ.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria in his writings speaks of inherited death and corruption, but not inherited guilt. "Since Adam produced children in his fallen state, we, his descendants, are corruptible, as coming from a corrupt source. The curse of mortality was transmitted to his seed after him, for we are born of mortal substance. Our Lord Jesus Christ is a new beginning of our race, reforming us unto incorruptibility by assaulting death, and nullifying the curse through His own flesh. Corruption and death are the universal and general consequences of Adam's transgressions. In like manner the universal and general ransom has been accomplished finally in Christ. All are released by Christ from the primal penalty, the penalty of death. For this reason the all-wise Paul asserts, Death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam's transgression (Rom.5:12). Under the law, then, death reigned, but with the advent of Christ, came the righteousness of grace, whereby our bodies were cleansed from corruption."27 The abolishing of sin and its consequences is not a juridical act or fiat, but the regeneration of humanity by the real and organic union of God and creature in Christ, and the transmission of this new life to all who become sons of God by adoption.

Thus the Incarnation of Christ the Word has abolished not only the sin of Adam which wrought our death, but all the consequences thereof. Although Adam died because he sinned, we sin because we die. Our sinning is the manifestation and the ratification of our mortal nature. Nothing reveals our mortality and sinfulness more so than our many bodily passions.28 Saint John of Damascus says that from the time of Adam to Christ, the human race has been "subject to passion instead of dispassion, mortality instead of immortality."29

The reasoning engendered by this doctrine of Original Sin tends to disdain the very Incarnation of Christ, Who took flesh from His Mother, who herself was born of the seed of man. In St. Macrina's prayer recorded by St. Gregory of Nyssa, she said, "Thou hast restored again what Thou hadst given, transforming with incorruptibility and grace what is mortal and shameful in us. Thou hast redeemed us from the curse and sin, having become both on our behalf. Thou hast crushed the head of the serpent...and negated the one who had power over us through death."30 Saint Paul explains to us that God made Him Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we may continue becoming the righteousness of God in Him (2Cor. 5:21). "What is this?" asks St. John Chrysostom. "That is, He suffered as a sinner to be condemned, as one cursed to die."31' The Apostle also consoles us, saying that the law of the Spirit which is life in Christ Jesus freed me from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2). Having been freed from sin, we were made slaves to righteousness (cf. Rom. 6:18). When we were in the flesh, the passions of the sins, which were through the law, were working in our members to bear fruit unto death (Rom. 7:5). Our old man was crucified with Him, in order that the body of sin might be rendered inactive, so that we no longer serve sin (cf. Rom.6:6).

The Apostle James, the brother of our Lord, writes: Each is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own desire. Then after the desire is conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, after it is fully formed, bringeth forth death (Jas.1:14, 15). Saint Paul urges us to make the decision not to let sin continue reigning in our mortal bodies, so as not to obey it in its desires (Rom. 6:12). It is true, however, that he does not hide the struggle that is before each of us when he himself confesses, For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good; for to will is present with me, but to work out the good I do not find....I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and leading me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members (Rom. 7:18, 23). He then asks, Who will deliver me from this body of death? And he exclaims, I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 7:24, 25). Free from indwelling sin, he claims, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:1, 2). This promise is made to all who desire to walk in the Spirit, and not only to Augustine's predestined elite. This fatal view of a preordained elect is overturned by St. Peter who affirms that all are invited to enter the kingdom of the heavens, because His divine power hath freely given us all the things for life and piety, through the full knowledge of Him Who called us by glory and virtue, by which He hath freely given to us the very great and precious promises, that through these ye might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world by desire (2Pet.1:3,4).

Thus armed, the faithful Orthodox Christian is called to struggle with the passions. At holy baptism, we put on Christ for ourselves, and we are buried with Him by baptism into death. For which, we are always delivered unto death on account of Jesus, that also the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh (2 Cor. 4:11). Saint Athanasios the Great tells us that "in the servants of God wherein grace abounds, sinful desires wither, for they evaporate in a nature superior to the first Adam,...superior, because it is deified."32

Augustine taught that baptism was instituted to wash away "Original Sin," the guilt we inherited at conception. Perhaps he conceived this notion as a backlash to his previous illicit relations outside of marriage, but likely his Manichean past also influenced it. Augustine believed that the sexual act is mingled with evil, inasmuch as it is the means by which an evil, Adam's guilt, is transmitted to those born by such generation. He taught that it was for this reason that children are regenerated in baptism.33 He says, "(T)hose who believe in Him are being absolved by the laver of regeneration from the guilt of their sins, to wit: both of the Original Sin they have inherited by generation—for which, according to him, regeneration was instituted— and all other sins contracted by evil conduct."34

Orthodoxy teaches that we are baptized to become members of the Body of Christ. We are buried with Him by the baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (cf. Rom. 6:4). Indeed, this newness of life through baptism also means our old man is put away and all our sins have been washed away, yet no holy Father attributes to baptism the property of taking away an "Original Sin" which Adam gave us. The holy Fathers do not speak of a "guilt" that is combined with this Original Sin that baptism washes away.

In another place Augustine taught differently about guilt. "In baptism," he said, "the consequences of Original Sin are removed, but not the guilt. One may be free from ‘Original Sin,' but not...the guilt, the tyrannical burden which children inherit from their parents despite the grace of baptism."35 Here is the quintessential Augustine. Original sin as a fallen nature is not really his main concern. For him, the relationship between God and man is essentially an external juridical one: judgment and guilt. A specific number of people are predestined to salvation, regardless of their nature, regardless of their own inner disposition and motives. Their nature is not destined to be changed, but merely their legal status.

As we can begin to see, Augustine uses words and terms not common with the holy Fathers. Original sin, Guilt of Adam, Predestination, are terms not used by the holy Fathers, because they are not Orthodox. Its seems as if one idea led to another, which needed a solution, and brought forth another conclusion. This is typical of one not well rooted in the Faith, and one not submitting his ideas to those older and more advanced in the spiritual life. Augustine lacked the opportunity to reap the spiritual fruit of the mystery of obedience, the spiritual fruit which the other holy teachers of Orthodoxy partook of, such as Saints John Chrysostom, Basil, Gregory, and others. Unfortunately no sooner had Augustine entered the ranks of the faithful, that the rhetoric and grammar professor of Milan immediately took to teaching and writing books attempting to reconcile his philosophy with the Faith, instead of sitting patiently in the seat of the learners and humbly developing a mind and vocabulary of the Fathers. This Augustine did also, even abandoning the catechism he was receiving under St. Ambrose. When St. Ambrose was questioned about Augustine's ideas, he said that the latter cut short his catechism and was not diligent in coming. He said that Augustine was only interested in debating his own position.

Augustine taught that God has predetermined some people to damnation whose wills He does not allow to turn toward Him, and some to salvation whose wills He does not allow to turn away from Him. For Augustine, election is absolutely gratuitous, and God's arbitrary will is impervious to foreseen merits and good actions. Concerning his perception of predestination, he says, "I speak thus of those who are predestined to the Kingdom of God, whose number is so certain that none may be added to or subtracted therefrom,...while those who do not belong to this most certain and blessed number are most righteously judged according to their deservings. For they lie under the sin which they have inherited by original generation and so depart hence with the inherited debt."36

Although Augustine insists he is an advocate of free will, what kind of free will is he defending when one is powerless to choose between good and evil? He says that predestination to eternal life is wholly of God's free grace, and asks, "...who will be so foolish and blasphemous as to say that God cannot change the evil wills of men, whichever, whenever, and wheresoever He chooses, and direct them to what is good?"37 And if one should choose the good, it is due to overwhelming and irresistible grace. Augustine attempts to interpret Scripture when he defines the words of St. Paul, "It is not therefore a matter of man's willing, of his running, but of God's mercy" (cf. Rom. 9:16), saying "not of ‘man's willing' or ‘running,' but ‘God's mercy' means precisely that the entire process is credited to God, Who prepares the will and helps the will thus prepared."38

But according to this, one does not truly exercise free will, rendering salvation solely the work of God. We have no function or capacity in the decision. Augustine gives the example of the twins of Isaac and Rebecca, saying, "Thus both the twins (Jacob and Esau) were born children of wrath, not on account of any works of their own, but because they were bound in the fetters of that original condemnation which came through Adam. But He Who said, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; loved Jacob of His undeserved grace, and hated Esau of His deserved judgment."39

The Bishop of Hippo wrote: "God foreknew believers; but He chose them that they might be so, not because they were already so.... He did not foresee that we ourselves would be holy and blameless, but He chose and predestined us that we might be so."40 He maintained his theories till his death, towards the end restating that the elect cannot fall away, preserved not by their own strength, but only by the irresistible grace of God. "The gift of God is granted to them...that they may not fall into temptation." And, "No saint fails to persevere in holiness to the end."41

Augustine's theory of predetermination and coercive grace cannot be reconciled with true free will. For Augustine, God's supreme and incomprehensible sovereignty does not confer with human choices. The elect are imposed upon by God with an irresistible grace. "It is God, therefore, who makes a man persevere in the good, who makes him good; but they who fall and perish have never been in the number of the predestined."42 Thus, according to Augustine, "If you wish to be a catholic, do not venture to believe, to say, or to teach that ‘they whom the Lord has predestinated for baptism can be snatched away from his predestination, or die before that has been accomplished in them which the Almighty has predestined.'"43

He postulated that all Christians have "sufficient grace," by which freedom is restored. All Christians receive grace to "cooperate" with God, and to choose between the good and evil. Nevertheless, only elect members of the Church shall be saved according to the eternal and hidden decree of God. Augustine thus said that all grace is "prevenient" (anticipatory) and "cooperative." But "sufficient grace," the grace of cooperation, or even "anticipatory grace" is insufficient to be elected. Augustine was the first to divide the faithful into those who possessed the common "sufficient grace," and those who are predestined to glory and vouchsafed the more blessed "efficacious grace" that was imposed upon them. He then went on to say that the "grace of perseverance"—that is the "irresistible" and "efficacious grace"—is the grace of salvation.

Moreover, no one would be saved if God had not "brought aid to the infirmity of the human will, so that it might be unchangeably and invincibly motivated by divine grace....Even though the will of the elect may be weak and incapable of good, God prevents their defection."44 Indeed, for him all men are totally depraved, the elect and the non-elect. The Bishop of Hippo disagreed with the holy and great St. Cyprian when the latter compared the Church with the Ark of Noah. Augustine contended that "only a few are saved by faith, a faith which they possess by virtue of their predestination to glory."45

The few that are saved by the irresistible grace imposed upon them is an idea outside the Orthodox Tradition. What about the poor hapless ones who are not on the rolls of the elect? Augustine explains, "They have been made vessels of wrath, and were born to the advantage of the saved....God knows what good may be made of them....Yet, He leads none of them to the salutary and spiritual repentance by which a man in Christ is reconciled to God."46 Thus, who may be understood as given to Christ? According to Augustine, "These are they who are predestinated and called according to the purpose, of whom not one perishes. And therefore none of them ends this life when he has changed from good to evil, because he is so ordained, and for that purpose given to Christ, that he may not perish, but may have eternal life."47

Concerning salvation, our holy Fathers neither speak of compulsion nor fatalism, but always advance the part of the human will in the divine economy. All the Orthodox are synergists, meaning God and man "working together," even though all were called, but not all obeyed.48 Saint John Chrysostom tells us that the heavenly call alone is not sufficient for salvation, not without the "purpose" of the "called."49 Saint Makarios the Great adds that man has the freedom to make himself "a vessel of the devil" or "a vessel of election and life."50

Saint John of Damascus comments, "We ought to understand that while God foreknows all things, He does not predestinate them. For He knows already those things that are in our power, but He does not predestinate them. For He does not will that there should be wickedness, nor does He impose virtue. Thus, foreordination is an act of the prescient divine command. On the other hand, God foreordains those things which are not within our power in accordance with His foreknowledge. In His foreknowledge, God has forejudged all things already according to His goodness and justice."51

Is anything foreordained? What is foreordained was the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God foreordained before the ages unto our glory (cf. 1Cor.2:7), the mystery of the Incarnation that as many as were placed in the ranks of eternal life believed (Acts 13:48). Saint Paul explains that we are His work, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph.2:10) What also is appointed is a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath ordained (Acts 17:31). When Saint Jude informs us that certain people slipped in secretly, who of old were proscribed unto this judgment, ungodly ones transposing the grace of our God into licentiousness, and denying the only Master, God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 4), Saint Bede the Venerable observes, "They themselves deserved this judgment, this condemnation, because they themselves acted wickedly; as the Lord says that some shall come forth who have done good things to a resurrection of life, but those who practise mean things, to a resurrection of condemnation" (cf. Jn.5:29).52

Furthermore, if we were not granted our free will, but predestined, why should St. Paul urge the Romans, who once presented their members as slaves to uncleanness and to lawlessness, to now present their members as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification (Rom.6: 19), if their ultimate fate is inevitable? Yes, in times past, we used to walk according to the age of this world, according to the prince of the authority of the air, the spirit now operating in the sons of disobedience (Eph.2:2). But Augustine's predestined numbers for bliss cannot evade judgment and condemnation if they have lived according to the flesh. The truth is, if we live according to the flesh, we are at the point of dying, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body, we shall live (Rom.8:13).

The Pelagianists were a group of heretics which Augustine fought against. They taught that salvation could be attained through one's own efforts, or through one's own will. They emphasized the human will. When Augustine tried to combat this heresy, he went to the opposite extreme, teaching that only God's will was operative, He is the Almighty One, He will even force or "convert" man's will to conform to His own. This, of course, falls in line with his other unorthodox ideas of predestination and irresistible grace.

Concerning the inescapability of God's predestination of some to damnation and others to compulsory grace, Augustine said, "I think, too, that I have so discussed the subject that it is not so much myself as the inspired Scriptures which have spoken to you in the most vivid testimonies of truth; and if this divine record be looked into carefully, it reveals that God Himself converts the will of man from evil to good and that once it is converted, He directs him to good actions and eternal life; but also, that those who follow after the world are so at the disposal of God that He turns them wherever and whenever He wills—to bestow kindness on some and heap punishment on others, as He Himself judges rightly by a counsel most secret to Himself."53 He thus defined a capricious deity akin to those of pagan myths.

Augustine said, "God converts the will of man from evil to good." This concept or teaching is completely foreign to Orthodoxy. God has bestowed upon human beings the unique property of freewill and reason, which likens us to Himself, and to the angels. This also distinguishes us from animals, who have none of the above. If God converts our will, He is infringing on that "image of God" in which He made us, for it is said, God "created man after His image" (Gen. 1:26).

Saint John of Damascus believed that the phrase, "after His image," clearly refers to the side of human nature which consists of mind and freewill. In refutation of Augustine's notion, he said, "It is to be understood that the choice of actions belongs to us, while the completion which is good takes place with God's just co-working with those of a disposition for the good and of an upright conscience, in accordance with His foreknowledge."54

"Moreover," he continues, "Bear in mind, too, that virtue is a gift from God implanted in our nature, and that He Himself is the source and cause of all good, and without His co-operation and help we cannot will or do any good thing. But we have it in our power either to abide in virtue and follow God, Who calls us into ways of virtue, or to stray from paths of virtue, which is to dwell in wickedness, and to follow the devil who summons but cannot compel us. For wickedness is nothing else than the withdrawal of goodness, just as darkness is nothing else than the withdrawal of light."55

Therefore, according to the holy Fathers, salvation is a matter of synergy, of cooperation—that of man with God, if man wills (actively chooses) the good, the right path, the virtuous life—then will God grant grace. To say that God infringes on the freewill of man is outside the Apostolic Tradition, and therefore, outside of Orthodoxy.

The Differences Between Essence and Hypostases and the Energies of the Holy Trinity.

In his de Fide et Symbolo, Augustine makes this outlandish statement: "With respect to the Holy Spirit, however, there has not been, on the part of learned and distinguished investigators of the Scriptures a fuller and careful enough discussion of the subject to make it possible for us to obtain an intelligent conception of what also constitutes His special individuality (proprium)." But all at the Second Ecumenical Synod knew well that this question was settled once and for all in the Symbol of Faith (Creed) by the word "procession," meaning the manner by which the Holy Spirit has His origin from the Father, which constitutes His special individuality. In any case, Augustine spent many years trying to solve this non-existent problem concerning the individuality of the Holy Spirit. Because of another set of mistakes in his understanding of revelation and theological method, came up with the Filioque, the addition of "and the Son" to the procession of the Holy Spirit in the articles of the Nicean Creed. The Franks believed that Augustine solved a theological problem where all other Western fathers had failed.56

A second mistake in the same discourse occurred when he identified the Holy Spirit with the divinity ‘which the Greeks designate ,' and explained that this is the "love between the Father and the Son."57

The Holy Spirit is an individual hypostasis with individual characteristics not shared by other hypostases, but He does share fully everything that the Father and Son have in common, to wit, the divine essence and all uncreated energies and powers. He is not what is common between the Father and Son, but has in common everything the Father and Son have in common. But Augustine never understood the distinction between the common essence and energies of the Holy Trinity and the incommunicable individualities of each hypostasis. He himself admits that he does not understand why a distinction is made in the Greek language between oujsiva  (ousia, essence) and  (hypostasis) in God. Nevertheless, he insisted that his distinctions must be accepted as a matter of faith and rendered in Latin as una essentia and tes substantiae.58 It is clear that Augustine accepted the most important aspect of the Trinitarian terminology of the Cappadocian Fathers and the Second Ecumenical Synod. However, he did not know the teachings of Saints Basil, Gregory the Theologian or Gregory of Nyssa. Augustine confuses generation and procession with the divine energies.

Later when Augustine became Bishop of Hippo, we find in his writings that he believed that Christ's presence in the Old Testament consisted merely of predictions and expectations of His future coming, but He was not personally present and active in Old Israel.59 In his work On the Trinity, he said that in the Old Testament theophanies, the Prophets saw neither a divine person, nor the uncreated glory of God.60 They saw only created energies or special effects created by angels in which "God was figuratively signified by the angels." Whatever the saints saw in the glory of God, according to Augustine, it was a created thing that came into being "in order to show what was necessary to be shown, and then ceased to be."61 And, "All those appearances were wrought through a creature. They were wrought by angels. Not only the visible things, but also the world itself was wrought by angels."62

The Logos was always identified with the Angel of God, the Lord of Glory, the Angel of Great Counsel, the Lord Sabbaoth and the Wisdom of God Who appeared to the Prophets of the Old Testament and became Christ by His birth as man from the Virgin Theotokos. No one ever doubted this identification of the Logos with this very concrete individual, Who revealed in Himself the invisible God of the Old Testament to the Prophets, with the peculiar exception of Augustine, who in this regard follows the Gnostic and Manichaean traditions. Augustine rejects as blasphemous the idea that the Prophets could have seen the Logos in any manner. Augustine agrees with the Arians and Eunomians that the Prophets saw only a created Angel, created fire, cloud, light, darkness, etc., but he argues that in none of these was the Logos Himself present. The theophanies were only symbols of God. As a result of his reading of Scripture, the theophanies are creatures or symbols that come into existence in order to convey a divine message, and then passed out of existence.63

Augustine made no distinction between whether revelation is given directly to human reason or to human reason by means of creatures or created symbols. The vision of God is an intellectual experience for Augustine. Therefore, every revelation for him is a revelation of concepts which can be searched out by reason for a comprehensive understanding. When the Franks accepted this way of thinking from Augustine, they transformed the purpose of theology into a scholastic tradition of studying and searching out the divine nature, whereas the Church Fathers taught that no one, not even the celestial hierarchies, can know the divine essence which is known only to the Trinity. The above ideas on the Old Testament are but a few examples of how Augustine deviated from the holy fathers.

 Augustine blurred the lines of the living Body of Christ in more ways than one, for he said, "Heretics have lawful baptism unlawfully."64 From this, one may deduce that heretics have the other Mysteries and grace. The monstrous consequences of his predestinationi led him to believe that the predestined can find the Mysteries outside of the Church. He says, "It is possible that some have been baptized outside the Church may be considered to have been really baptized within, while some who seemed to have been baptized within may be understood, through the same foreknowledge of God, to have been baptized outside of Her."65

Thus, for Augustine, the visible, hierarchical, sacramental Church, has predestined people elsewhere who may find the Mysteries abroad. Heretics may also perform a valid sacrament, and he says so: "If anyone is compelled by urgent necessity, being unable to find a Catholic from whom to receive baptism, and so, while preserving Catholic peace in his heart, should receive from one outside the pale of Catholic unity, the sacrament which he was intending to receive within the Church, should this person be suddenly dispatched from this life, he would nevertheless be deemed a Catholic."66 Therefore, he believes the Holy Spirit confers Mysteries and the grace of salvation outside of the holy Church—even for the elect's sake.

But these unorthodox ideas have been refuted by our holy Fathers, such as St. Athanasios, who wrote: "There are many other heresies too, which use the words only, but not in a right sense, as I have said, nor with sound Faith, and in consequence the water which they administer is unprofitable, as deficient in piety, so that he who is sprinkled by them is rather polluted by the irreligious than redeemed."67

Yet, as if these opinions were not extreme enough, Augustine wrote about Donatist baptism to the Donatist Petilian, saying, "We recognize in heretics that baptism, which belongs not to the heretics but to Christ....For the sacraments indeed are holy, even in such men as these, and shall be of force in them to greater condemnation, because they handle and partake of them unworthily. Both those among us and among you have and transmit the sacrament of baptism.... What we fear, therefore, to destroy, is not yours, but Christ's; and it is holy of itself, even in sacrilegious hands....For we destroy the treachery of the deserter, not the stamp of the Sovereign."68

Continuing, he says, "But we do not remove baptism from heretics. Why? Because they possess baptism as a mark in the same way as a deserter from the army possesses a mark. So, too, do heretics have baptism."69

Showing the seriousness of the crime by priests who practice and teach such things, St. Cyprian of Carthage writes: "Dearest brother, we must consider, for the sake of the Faith and the religion of the sacerdotal office which we discharge, whether the account can be satisfactory in the day of judgment for a priest of God, who maintains, approves, and acquiesces in the baptism of blasphemers, when the Lord threatens and says, ‘And now, 0 priests, this commandment is to you. If ye will not hearken, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory to My name,' saith the Lord Almighty, ‘then I will send forth the curse upon you, and I will bring a curse upon your blessing' (Mal.2:12). Does he give glory to God, who communicates with the baptism of Marcion? Does he give glory to God, who judges that remission of sins is granted among those who blaspheme against God?"70

It is this erroneous teaching regarding baptism that gladdens those who espouse the heresy of ecumenism. They have as their champion, Augustine, just as the Latins and Protestants have him as their supreme theologian.

Augustine's heresies have been the source for the inauguration and consolidation of the separation of the heterodox from Orthodoxy. We have already shown how his Filioque heresy initiated the fall of the Western Church. The two other heresies which energized the momentum behind the West's migration from salvation as revealed by the Orthodox Church was their adoption of Augustine's doctrine of "Original Sin" and theory of "irresistible grace."

God established His work through His "operations" or "energies."i Grace is a divine energy, a power by which our mortal nature is transformed. It is not compulsory as Augustine believed. Grace departs from a soul that resists salvation, but acts with the human will that desires it. Augustine was the first to set forth grace as created for man. The Orthodox doctrine of uncreated grace was well defended by St. Gregory Palamas against Barlaam of Calabria, an Augustinian. Saint Gregory asked him rhetorically, "How do you participate in the divine nature if grace is not somehow an extension of It?"

A belief in Augustine's definition of predestination that a specific number of selected people shall be saved as citizens of the "City of God"ii may lead one to withdraw from a synergistic and cooperative relationship with God in striving against the passions. This theory has led many to either anticipate a divine atonement which is monergistic (salvation achieved by a single will or power) and coercive, through the minutiae of ritual or sensationalistic acceptance of a personal Saviour. Neither of the latter two forms leads to deification. Those that chose the latter two forms, instead of striving against the passions, gave rise to alternate and heretical forms of salvation, that is, juridical atonement and vicarious sacrifice.

Concerning Roman Catholicism, not long after its falling away from us because of their adoption of Augustine's Filioque heresy, Thomas Aquinas, who considered himself to be—and indeed thoroughly was— Augustinian, eventually converted the whole of the Latin Church over to his ritualistic theology, a theology which now is the foundation and cornerstone upon which all Roman Catholicism stands. It was Augustine's view of a totally depraved and guilty mankind that necessitated the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Thomas Aquinas taught Augustine's presumptuous doctrine that merely by the priest properly performing the right ritual can Original Sin, which damns one, be removed automatically. In reaction and opposition to this, a second solution was formed for "Original Sin." An Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther, protesting against the hypocritical aridity of the former view (and its automatic priestly absolvements upon anyone who paid for monetary indulgences from the clergy), baptized the populace into his mystically "saving" experience. This experience consisted of nothing more than the assurance that you are one of the prejustified, inwardly elected—whom Augustine had theologically invented— whose soul God has already saved and will now irresistibly draw to Himself regardless of your relationship to the Church or what sins you might now commit. It is very telling that Luther wanted to remove the book of James from the canon of the Scriptures, where it is written: What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (Jas.2:14). When any talk arose of removing Augustine from the list of the Fathers, he said, "When Augustine is eliminated from the list of the Fathers, the others are not worth much."71

In the reformations of the sixteenth century, both Protestant and Roman Catholic reformers appealed to different aspects of his teachings to support their claims. Roman Catholics cited his teachings on ecclesiology and sacramental theology. Protestants invoke his teachings on the Christian's dependence on the grace of God for justification. Martin Luther quotes him more than one hundred times in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans alone. Augustine's ideas have provided arguments for political arrangements. His approval of the Donatists' suppression influenced theories of just war, and his social theory, described in City of God, urges the maintenance of a hierarchical ordering in society.72

In contrast to the theology of the Orthodox fathers of both the East and the West, the Frankish theological tradition makes its appearance in history reading and knowing in full only Augustine. As the Franks became acquainted with other Latin-speaking or Greek-speaking Fathers, they subordinated them all to the authority of Augustinian categories. Even the dogmas promulgated at Ecumenical Synods were replaced by Augustine's understanding of these dogmas.73

It is largely because of the development of these Augustinian heresies, that there has arisen the general confusion of secularism, which, in a sense, is just a more firm attachment to the justification initially provided by Original Sin, that sin is natural to us and therefore requires not remedy but pardon (i.e. toleration), as well as an attachment to the initial faithless despair behind Original Sin that there is no true redemption within this mortal existence—it being inherently sinful—but rather is something you just have to live with. Capping off this general spirit of Western heresy is Augustine's heretical validation of the baptism of heretics, a view that has contributed greatly to the present Ecumenical movement and its divergent heresies that he largely created.

In conclusion we may honestly say that because the Orthodox Church never officially carried out the condemnation made by some of our saints, fathers and monastics upon this Bishop of Hippo, his teachings have now come to form heresies even larger than the Latin Church itself. Yet as the Russian New Martyr Archbishop Hilarion Troitsky commented: "We can only thank God that the doctrine of the Eastern Church was formulated outside the sphere of Augustinianism, which we must consider as alien to us."74

Unfortunately, though, rather than giving heed to our own councils that condemned the basic tenets of his teaching, we instead now give heed to the council of those sympathetically aligned with the Western heresies that surround us. For within our own Church, divine services are celebrated for this man who inaugurated the fall of the Western Church and the western world from Orthodoxy with his Filioque heresy. He is guilty of too many serious theological errors and has cheated generations of people out of salvation by his teaching on Original Sin and predestination.

All of this, we hope, will give you good reason to judge this man and his teachings as unworthy of any veneration or reverence, for he has reaped much destruction upon our Holy Orthodox Church. Augustine is neither a saint, nor a Church Father.

A Dictionary of the Christian Biography. Ed. by Henry Wace, D.D., and William C.Piercy, M.A. Peabody. MA: Hendrickson Publishers, s.v. "Augustinus, Aurelius."

Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. Ed. by Everett Gerguson, Michal P. McHugh, and FrederickW. Norris. NY: Garland Publishing Co., 1990, s.v. "Augustine."

Gabriel, George, By More Than Words Alone (Ridgewood, NJ, 1998).

Romanides. John S., Franks, Romans, Feudalism, & Doctrine, from web site http:// www.romanity.org/index.htm (May 1998).

The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series I, Volumes III and V on Augustine, trans. & ed. by Roberts, Alexander & Donaldson (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems Computer software, 1997).

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 2d ed., edited By F.L. Cross, and E.A. Livingstone, s.v. "Augustine of Hippo."

The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Alexander P. Kazhdan, editor-in-chief. NY, NY: Oxford University Press, 1991, s.v. "Augustine."

For further in-depth discussion on the theological issues just discussed (i.e., the Filioque, procession and energies, essence and hypostasis), we recommend the hardbound volume, entitled The Lives of the Pillars of Orthodoxy. The book contains the lives, struggles, works and miracles of Saint Photios, Saint Gregory Palamas, and Saint Mark Evgenikos, all champions against the innovations of the Papacy. Together with their lives are included chapters on the Filioque, Causes for Anti-Union Feelings Among the Byzantines, Events Leading to the Schism of 1054, The Fall of Constantinople in 1453, and Orthodox Replies to the Innovations of the Papacy. 640 pages, 125 illustrations and 4 maps. $32, plus $2.50 domestic shipping, and $5.50 international. Church and Bookstore Discounts available. Send orders to "Voice of Orthodoxy," POB 3177, Buena Vista, CO 81211, or call 719-395-8898.


1. See, "The Influence of Augustinc of Hippo on the Orthodox Church," by Fr. Michael **Azkoul, p.31.

2. Recorded by his biographer Possidius, found in the book Early Christian Biographies, by R.J. Deferrari.

3. Azkoul, 44.

4. Azkoul, p. 46, n. 1.

5. On the Trinity, 15, 16, 29.

6. On the Trinity, XV, 27

7. ib. , 87:41

8. ib. ¶64,63.

9. The Mystagogia, 17.

10. Pillars, 441,442.

11. The Enchiridion, 26-27, PL 40:245.

12. On the Soul and Its Origin, Bk. IV, Ch. 16.

13. ibid. , Ch. 20

14. Enchiridion, Ch. 30.

15. ib. , Ch. 33.

16. ib. , Ch. 119.

17. ib. , Ch. 28.

18. ib. , ch. 49.

19. Azkoul, 27, 28.

20. One Hundred and Fifty Chapters, 51 PG 150:1157A-1160A.

21. Ps. XL VII, 8,9 PL 14:1214D, cf 1415AB.

22. Azkoul, Augustine and the Orthodox Church, p. 83.

23. ib. , p. 218, n. 56.

24. Ep. XXX, 2.

25. Ep. XXIII, 5.

26. Azkoul, Augustine & the Orthodox Church, p. 88.

27. Selected Letters VI,20, pp. 200-204 (ed. by L. R. Wickham, Oxford, 1983).

28. Azkoul, Augustine, p. 103.

29. Exposition on the Orthodox Faith, II, 30 977D.

30. The Life of St Makrina, PG 46:984 CD.

31. Hom. XI on Second Corinthians.

32. Spiritual Homily XXVI, 2 PG. 34:676B.

33. Cf. Contra Jul. III, vii 15 709.

34. "Tractate CXXIV," On the Gospel of St John, ch. 21

35. On Marriage and Concupiscence I, xxvi, 29 PL 44:430.

36. On Rebuke and Grace, XIII, 39 940, 42 942.

37. The Enchiridion, Nicene Fathers, 1st Ser. , Vol. 3, Ch. 98, "Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God's Free Grace," (Oakwood, WA: Logos Software).

38. Ench. , 32 248.

39. The Enchiridion, Nicene Fathers, 1st 8er. , Vol. 3, Ch. 98, "Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God's Free Grace," (Oakwood, WA: Logos). Ch. 98.

40. On the Predestination of the Saints, XVII, 34 PL 44:985.

41. On the Gift of Perseverance, 19.

42. On Rebuke and Grace, XII, 36 938. )

43. Book 3, Addressed to Vincentius Victor, Nicene, 1st Ser. , Vol. V, Chapter 13(X]-"His Seventh Error. In the Shape of a Letter Addressed to Presbyter Peter," Logos Software.

44. ib. ,38 940

45. On the Predestination of the Saints, XVII, 34 985.

46. Contr Jul V, iv, 14 PL 44:792,793.

47. Treatise on Rebuke and Grace, Ch. 21.

48. Comm. in Ep. ad Rom. XV, 1 541.

49. Comm. in Ep. ad. XV, 1 PG 60:541.

50. Spiritual Homilies, XV, 40 PG 34:604B.

51. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, II, 30.

52. Bede, Commentary on Jude.

53. On Grace and Free Will, 41.

54. Saint John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book II, Chap. 29.

55. ib. , Book II, Chap. 30.

56. Romanides, Romanity web site.

57. Romanides, Romanity web site.

58. De Trinitate, 5. 8. 10.

59. Gabriel, George, By More Than Words Alone (Ridgewood, NJ, 1998), p. 11.

60. Bk. 3, Ch. 11. 26.

61. Bk. 2, Ch. 7. 2.

62. Bk. 3, Ch. 11. 22.

63. Romanides, John S. , Franks, Romans, Feudalism, & Doctrine, from web site http://www. romanity. org/index. htm (May 1998).

64. On Baptism, Against the Donatists, V. vi, 7 181.

65. Concerning Baptism Against the Donatists, 5, 28, 39

66. Ib. , 1,2,3.

67. Discourses Against the Arians, II. XVII. 43.

68. The Letters of Petillian, the Donatist, Bk. II Chap. 109. 246. (247).

69. On the Creed: A Sermon to the Catechumens, In Nicene Fathers, 1st Ser. , Vol. 111, trans. by CL. Cornish, MA. , §16.

70. "Epistle LXXIII to Pompey, Against the Epistle of Stephen about the Baptism of Heretics," In The Epistles of Cyprian, Ante-Nicene Fathers, pp. 388, 389.

71. On the Councils of the Church, Luther's Works, Vol. 41, p. 27.

72. 19. 13-15.

73. Romanidcs. Romanity web site.

74. The Unity of the Church and the World Conference of Christian Communities, trans. by M. Jerenic, p. 31.



The exploration of the question of Augustine of Hippo is not an easy task. Those who have advocated bringing him into the Calendar of the Saints and considering him a Church father approach the hysterical in their demands. The critiques of Augustine have not all been as thorough going as they should have been. Often his advocates wish to write off his heretical teachings a "exaggerations made by his disciples," but such arguments are unconvincing. There is a complete mindset to the works of Augustine that tells us that there is no exaggeration. Augustine fully believed and clearly taught the heresies attributed to him. No writer in the early centuries every departed so radically from the teachings of the authentic Fathers as did Augustine. His writings are powerful and often lovely, and this has been the source of the delusion about him. In addition to the usually listed heresies, such as the Gnostic teaching of predestination, Original Sin, his strange notions about sex, purgatory, the filioque and others, he presents a Platonistic dualism in his anthropology, a non-Orthodox Christology and many other themes which show a consistency of heretical thought that permeates his writings and distances him from the authentic Fathers of the Church.
      It is our intention to exlore not only the most self-evident of his heresies, but the deep-seated non-Orthodox mentality that is infused in his writings and teachings.


"Insofar as the Western tradition of theology is different from the Eastern, it is because of Augustinianism rather than because it is tempermentally, socially or geographically `Western' or `Latin' or `Rome'....the sine qua non of Augustinianism is neo-Platonism."
                    - St Augustine and the Eastern Tradition (p. 161, 167)

What we will examine in this study:

1. Those specific heresies of Augustine that even his advocates acknowledge, although they unconvincingly assert that these false teachings were "exaggerated" by his followers, the Augustinians. They include:

    i. The filioque
    ii. Predestination
    iii. Irresistible grace
    iv. Original Sin
    v. The roots of `purgatory' and `limbo'

2. Those areas of his heretical teachings that many of his advocates are either ignorant about or actually agree. These include his:

    ii. Theory of ideas
    iii. Doctrine of Creation
    iv. Crypto-Nestorian Christology
    v. False mystagogy
    vi. Corruption of the theology and revelation of the Old Testament Theophanies
    vii. Heterodox ecclesiology
    viii. Platonistic (sometimes purely Gnostic) concept of the soul.
    ix. Analogia entis
    x. Erroneous understanding of deification
    xi. Alien teaching of anthropology and sex.

Above all else, Augustine's Platonism and neo-Platonism so heavily polluted the religious mind of the West that in a very true and precise sense, he was the author of the Schism and the source of almost all Latin and Protestant heresies. His counterpart in the East - Origen - was condemned for his heresies, so similar in so many ways to those of Augustine.