by Sophocles Frangakis
Ecumenism as a heresy is today known by many as the "Pan Heresy" of our day.
There is a difference between sin and heresy.
Sin is the missing of an established bar whether willfully or through negligence, sloth, ignorance and for any other reason. Yet, in the missing of this mark, or not measuring to the bar, the sinner yet acknowledges that the bar exists in place as a way to measure oneself accurately. In other words, the sinner recognizes the bar as "fixed" in place by God. When he falls, the sinner strives to hit the bar. He says to himself, "I was not able to attain to the measure of the bar established by God. God is not at fault for this, I am. I must struggle more diligently to not miss the mark."
A heresy is altogether different, even though it is also a sin, but of a different nature. A heretic looks at the established bar and says within himself, "This is not the bar. This is the bar", establishing according to himself the criteria of what merits the bar. It is arbitrary in nature and has no real existence but a shadowy one. It is not of God, not of the truth. Further, when the bar is moved from its proper place, sinners do not have the proper measure of a bar to repent to. This is very dangerous, this obscuring or diverting the sinner from the proper repentance. This is why heresy must be fought against vigorously.
The following story of Abba Agathon tells the story of the difference between sin and heresy very well.
It was said concerning Abba Agathon that some monks came to find him having heard tell of his great discernment. Wanting to see if he would lose his temper they said to him,
''Aren't you that Agathon who is said to be a fornicator and a proud man?"
"'Yes, it is very true," he answered.
They resumed, "Aren't you that Agathon who is always talking nonsense?"
Again they said, "Aren't you Agathon the heretic?"
But at that he replied, "I am not a heretic."
So they asked him, "Tell us why you accepted everything we cast you, but repudiated this last insult."
He replied, "The first accusations I take to myself for that is good for my soul. But heresy is separation from God. Now I have no wish to be separated from God."
At this saying they were astonished at his discernment and returned, edified.