In this recording, Archimandrite Athanasios Mytilinaios (1927-2006), answers the question: “I have heard that in the Western Roman Catholic church miracles that are related to their faith take place. If miracles happen to them [just like in Orthodoxy], does this mean that differences with Orthodox are a few?” “The miracle is not a criterion of the originality of faith… The only thing we can do is based on the Holy Scripture and the fathers [of the Church] that interpret it in order to indicate the correctness or not of the faith.”
Audio source: “Catechism”, no. 133 (in Greek)
Another question says, “I have heard that in the Western Roman Catholic church miracles that are related to their faith take place. If miracles happen to them [just like in Orthodoxy], does this mean that differences with Orthodox are a few?”
My dear ones, I have said this again. The miracle is not a criterion of the originality of faith. I will repeat it. The miracle is not a criterion of the originality of faith. Meaning that a miracle can also occur to an ungodly man. This [the miracle happening to him] does not mean that he is a pious man regardless.
Do you know how much delusion there is on this matter? One can see a vision, a dream—and let us assume that this vision is indeed from God not from the devil—he gets a big head and he thinks of himself as a pious man. Because he saw this dream or because he experienced a miracle.
Let us not forget that the Pharaoh of Egypt saw real dreams. Let us not forget the famous dreams of Nebuchadnezzar. If I am not mistaken this dream of Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned by St. Cyril and the Uncut Mountain that was detached and destroyed the statue. If there is time, I will mention it in detail. Yet, although this vision is from Christ, a great vision—the fathers themselves mention it a lot—still you cannot speak of Nebuchadnezzar as a pious man. Likewise, could this prophetic vision that occurred to him possibly be regarded as a criterion of his piety? Nebuchadnezzar died as an impious man. Furthermore, because of the number of his sins, he suffered a mental illness which is called lycanthropy. He thought he was an animal and he walked on four limbs and ate grass.
Do you want to hear one more thing? The descendants of the Greek refugees of Asia Minor among us must already know what I am about to say. The Turks in Minor Asia honor a lot St. George and other [Orthodox] Saints. Do you know why? Because, even the Turks, received miracles from the Saints, yet without it leading to a change of their faith. How come the Turks received miracles? Could we end up saying that since Turks received miracles, Islam and Christianity are close and so let us proceed to a union? Quite the contrary. We know that the Turks witness miracles and they were scared of the Saints, because the Saints had given repeatedly miracles both to the Christians [of Asia Minor] and the Turks.
Thus, you realize that the miracle is not a criterion. Let me tell you something else from an orthodox background. Arius claimed that Christ is not God, He is only man, He is a creation.
The fathers [of the church] claimed that He is perfect God and perfect man. It is important to remind it as a foundation of our faith. This position [on Christ] was studied in detail a lot of years, especially during the first Ecumenical Council, you already know that. It is said that St. Spyridon during this Council performed a miracle. There is a holy icon with him performing this miracle. He took a tile and from the tile came out water which ran down, fire went up and soil remained in his hand. He wanted to say to Arius that similarly to the tile which is one but three elements at the same time so is God. Yet, even if this miracle served a purpose at the time, have we ever used this miracle to prove the divinity of Jesus Christ? Never! We could use it among believers, but among non-believers it’s useless.
What should we do then? We will use the Scripture to prove the truth of our position. Regarding the initial question, between Western and Eastern [Christianity] miracles should not be used. Because in the same way that we can say that the Virgin Mary of Tinos performs miracles, the Catholics can say that the Virgin Mary of Lourdes also performs miracles.
Thus, the only thing we can do is [talk] based on the Holy Scripture and the fathers [of the Church] that interpret it in order to indicate the correctness or not of the faith.