“Beware of self-delusion! Beware of the deceptions of the enemy! Do not think that a man is a real scholar of the Bible because he can quote by memory ever so many passages. Did not the first one who fell from the most elevated condition into the lowest hell, did not Satan know the Word of God? Yea, before it was written into a book by human hand. Look and see how the Devil quotes from the Bible when he tempted the Lord in the wilderness, and said: ‘He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.’ [Psalm 90:11-12 LXX] The Devil withheld the words that follow immediately after these, which read: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under foot.’ [Psalm 90:13 LXX]”
“A blind person who undertakes to guide others is a deceiver plunging into the pit of destruction those who follow him. As the Lord said: ‘if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit’ (Matt. 25:14).”
+ St Symeon the New Theologian, Philokalia Volume 4, One Hundred and Fifty-Three Practical and Theological Texts.
“Shall we say: ‘Since it is lawful for an archbishop together with his associates to do as he pleases, let him be for the duration of his archbishopric a new Evangelist, another Apostle, a different Law-giver?’ Certainly not. For we have an injunction from the Apostle himself: If anyone preaches a doctrine, or urges you to do something against what you have received, against what is prescribed by the canons of the catholic and local synods held at various times, he is not to be received, or to be reckoned among the number of the faithful. And I forbear even to mention the terrible judgment with which the Apostle concludes (Gal. 1:8).”
Hear, O you bishops; and hear, O you of the laity, how God speaks: I will judge between ram and ram, and between sheep and sheep. And He says to the shepherds: You shall be judged for your unskilfulness, and for destroying the sheep. That is, I will judge between one bishop and another, and between one lay person and another, and between one ruler and another (for these sheep and these rams are not irrational, but rational creatures): lest at any time a lay person should say, I am a sheep and not a shepherd, and I am not concerned for myself; let the shepherd look to that, for he alone will be required to give an account for me. For as that sheep that will not follow its good shepherd is exposed to the wolves, to its destruction; so that which follows a bad shepherd is also exposed to unavoidable death, since his shepherd will devour him. Wherefore care must be had to avoid destructive shepherds.
Even if the whole universe holds communion with the [Latinizing] Patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching.
“As we walk the unerring and life-bringing path, let us pluck out the eye that scandalizes us-not the physical eye, but the noetic one. For example, if a bishop or presbyter-who are the eyes of the Church-conduct themselves in an evil manner and scandalize the people, they must be plucked out. For it is more profitable to gather without them in a house of prayer, than to be cast together with them into the gehenna of fire together with Annas and Caiaphas.”
“Keep an eye on your bishops as far as their Orthodoxy is concerned lest they go so far as to teach doctrines against the true faith or celebrate with heretics and schismatics. As far as other things, they act out of ignorance or because the days are evil and they will give an account to God only.”
“Implore God with prayers and tears to send you a guide who is dispassionate and holy. But you yourself should also study the divine writings – especially the works of the fathers that deal with the practice of the virtues – so that you can compare the teachings of your master with them; for thus you will see and observe them as in a mirror. Take to heart and keep in mind those of his teachings that agree with the divine writings, but separate out and reject those that are false and incongruent. Otherwise you will be led astray. For in these days there are all too many deceivers and false prophets. ”
+ St. Symeon the New Theologian, Practical and Theological Texts, Text 33