The Matthew Heimbach/TradYouth and Eastern Orthodoxy story continues to evolve. After failing as a traditionalist catholic with the Society of Pope Pius the X, being excommunicated by the Antiochian Orthodox Church and a subsequent run-in with ROCOR, Heimbach has been issued an ultimatum by Metropolitan John of the True Orthodox Metropolia of North & South America & British Isles (this is the jurisdiction Heimbach’s spiritual father, Fr. Johnson, is under).This group separated from the Old Calanderist Synod of Milan over ecumenism and imiaslavism. Their latest statement on “The Question of Race, Politics, and the Church” reads:
As Orthodox Christians, we respect the diversity of political opinions among our brethren on all matters other than the permissibility of endorsing the practice of any form of abortion, or other views contrary to the long standing teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church, but we do not believe in the exclusion of any person of any race or mixed racial heritage (or of former religious affiliations who chose to fully become Orthodox Christians) from the communities of any of our churches or the participation in any of the Mysteries in any of our Churches on the basis of said racial or mixed racial/ethnic heritage. We further affirm the decision of the 1872 Council of Constantinople which ruled against phyletism as in any manner acceptable in the Orthodox Church of Christ, namely, the following statement: “We censure, condemn, and declare contrary to the teachings of the Gospel and the sacred canons of the holy Fathers the doctrine of phyletism, or the difference of races and national diversity in the bosom of the Church of Christ.”
An addendum to this was also published on their official facebook page which singles out Matthew Heimbach:
The timing of this is clearly not accidental. It was released only days after Heimbach’s spiritual father, “Fr.” Matthew Raphael Johnson published his first podcast in years on why phyletism was not only not heretical but also the official teaching of the church. To quote the written version:
“The ‘Patriarch’ was a highly compromised institution under the Tourkokratia, or the rule of the Turkish empire over southern Europe. Greek elites and moneylenders were the real forces behind this “synod” and created the district of Istanbul known even today as the Phanar.”
Heimbach released a similar podcast. Both declared it a “hoax” and claimed that phyletism was condemned due to the economic and political circumstance of the Phanar Greek collaborators with Ottoman rule in 1872. Besides historical problems with this (the Bulgarian Exarchate was declared via Ottoman degree;therefore, the collaborators, if any, would be the Bulgarian nationalists ), the methodology Johnson and Heimbach uses is essentially secular and has been used against nearly every dogmatic definition to come out of a council, ecumenical or otherwise. I would then suppose that they both reject the Chaledonian definition of the two nature of Christ due to imperial ambitions or the council of Nicaea as empire building by Constantine? Of course this would be ridiculous and I don’t expect them to buy into such a simplistic understanding of Church history, but they lend credence to it by their adoption of a similar approach to defend their token doctrines.
In their defense, I suppose they may point again to their “statement of obedience”again, but it’s clear that that document was drafted in a completely disingenuous manner. How can Heimbach say that he rejects “the heresy of phyletism” and that “phyletism is a hoax” simultaneously? It is this sort of double speak and theological question dodging that the Traditionalist Youth Network specializes in. Heimbach’s claim that he rejects “the attitude of violence” is in contrast to open praise of fascist leaders and “taking back the streets”. Heimbach’s aesthetic synthesis of fascism, southern white nationalism, and orthodoxy is based on violent inner thoughts of racial holy war and to object otherwise is to ignore the obvious. As long as Heimbach keeps close association with violent felons with thick portfolios of racially motivated violence, such as the Keystone United, his claims to have a a peaceful orientation are hallow. Southern nationalist organizations such as the League of the South have also objected to Heimbach’s association with Neo-Nazi groups, but the two have supposedly made up despite Heimbach still ever obvious ties to such groups and the Traditionalist Youth Network material still regularly air on radio channels like Radio Aryan.
How can Heimbach say with a straight face that he will “abstain from controversy within the Church” while simultaneously lying to the face of both Aniochian and ROCOR priests about their involvement with fascist organizations? Meanwhile, Matt Parrott, a fellow white nationalist, replies to public Orthodox criticisms of Heimbach by insinuating clergy that disagree with them have “consistently demonstrated themselves to be politicians in cassocks who casually and habitually abuse their Authority for worldly political advantage.” Heimbach et al continue to insist that they have been treated unfairly but they have been awarded multiple chances and lied/deceived each time. The Old Calanderists, who would be the last to be part of a “ecumenist” or “masonic plot” to destroy the white race, are able to see through the overt lies the Traditional Youth Network tell the clergy and have rightly issued a statement of belief for them to sign. Are we seriously supposed to believe that they too are in bed with the SPLC to undermine Orthodox Christianity?
The repeated lies and question dodging advanced by the Heimbach and his ilk clearly suggest to the reality that they value their white nationalist politics more highly than Church doctrine. This lack of will to repent is generated by a spiritual self-delusion so deep that they seriously believe that they will be a champions over the bishops of canonical Orthodoxy, who they believe are part of a masonic plot against the white race. Spiritual self-delusion or prelest, St. Isaac the Syrian notes, is caused when an individual has not cured “his thoughts of infirmities by patiently bearing the cross, but rather dared in his mind to envision the glory of the cross.” Heimbach’s glorification of fascism in the name of Christ is clear and evident prelest, justifying to him the necessity to deceive clergy who not follow this agenda.
So what is next? Is Johnson to be defrocked by his bishop? Where will Heimbach find an church home that will endorse his beliefs? We will have to wait and see. The Traditionalist Youth Network has yet to reply to the latest statement issued against them.