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The Orthodox Nationalist: The Essence of Words – TON 092017


This is the leader of the "Name Worshipers" Alexander Bulatovich. He became a monk under the name of Anthony. The other leader was Monk Hilarion (Domrachev), both were well educated men.

“Name worship” or the doctrine of “imiaslavie” is one the most eccentric of all doctrinal controversies in Orthodox history. In part, this is because of its metaphysical complexity and difficulty. Almost always, the terms are stated incorrectly since the author usually has only minimal training in metaphysics. Also, the acceptance or rejection of the theory has no impact on one's faith or life. This cannot be said of any other heresy or controversy in the past. More than anything else, it is almost totally unknown to the average, beleaguered parishioner, who now has to sort through yet another set of doctrinal controversies tearing his already damaged church apart.

This talk is a brief analysis of what metaphysics has to do with Christianity. Since most do not know how to define “metaphysics,” most opinions are useless. It seems that the formulaic slogans about ecumenism have run their course. A new doctrinal controversy to justify schism is required. In the Historical Dictionary of the Russian language, we read under the heading “name”
In the Biblical sense, the concept of “name” is not just the proper name of something, but also the essence of that thing. It goes on to give examples of the name and its connection with the person in the old testament. For example, Abraham means the “father of the race.” Benjamin, the “son of happiness,” Moses is “saved from the water,” David is “beloved,” and so on.
In no way can this be evidence for the magical connection between the word and the person or the qualities of the person, but it might shed some light on the origin of our problem.

Furthermore, the essential elements of apophatic logic are that any word cannot exhaust the experience and meaning it contains or seeks to replicate. Like anything else, words are historical products reflecting the fundamental ontological assumptions of those coining and using them. That those unfortunates alive in 2015 live in a society that is by its own self-definition “revolutionary” and “scientific,” the mental material needed to grasp these ideas is largely not present. The apophatic approach argues that words are abbreviations of fundamental ontological truths. They are symbols in the best sense of the term. A “symbol” is not the opposite of “substantial,” but is the very expression of substance. The cross is a symbol that speaks volumes. However, to recount the history of the crucifixion each time we mean “cross” would be a tad irritating. Hence, these symbols are abbreviations for a massive amount of transcendent material, but are anything but non-substantial.

The reason I need to tackle this difficult subject is because so many parishes and dioceses are being torn apart for it. It has to stop.

Presented by Matt Johnson

The Orthodox Nationalist: The Essence of Words – TON 092017


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