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Author Topic: The Russian Orthodox Church on Ecumenism  (Read 18834 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 20, 2009, 08:18:33 PM »

The doctrinal problems with ecumenism are already well known so I won't repeat them here. Suffice it to say ROCA formerly had a strong stance against ecumenism,

Dear Jonathan.

Please read this statement on ecumenism by the Russian Orthodox Church.  Its attitude aligns with that of the Church Abroad. 

Also you may not know that last year Moscow forbade all prayer, publically or privately, with the non-Orthodox.

"Basic Principles of the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Toward the Other Christian Confessions"
adopted by the Jubilee Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church
August 14, 2000


http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/7/5/1.aspx
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2009, 08:49:05 PM »

The doctrinal problems with ecumenism are already well known so I won't repeat them here. Suffice it to say ROCA formerly had a strong stance against ecumenism,

Dear Jonathan.

Please read this statement on ecumenism by the Russian Orthodox Church.  Its attitude aligns with that of the Church Abroad. 

Also you may not know that last year Moscow forbade all prayer, publically or privately, with the non-Orthodox.

"Basic Principles of the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Toward the Other Christian Confessions"
adopted by the Jubilee Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church
August 14, 2000


http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/7/5/1.aspx

Thanks for the link. To me the document is a good example of hedging. For instance, on the one hand it seems to say plainly that the only acceptable union is within "the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church". But note that they don't state explicitly whether this "One Church" is to be identified with the Eastern Orthodox Church or some other body. Moreover, all the language about healing Christian divisions makes it unclear whether the framers of the document really believe the Church remains undivided (in the Orthodox Church) or not. Take this quote for example:

The ecclesial status of those who have separated themselves from the Church does not lend itself to simple definition. In a divided Christendom, there are still certain characteristics which make it one: the Word of God, faith in Christ as God and Saviour come in the flesh (1 Jn. 1:1-2; 4, 2, 9), and sincere devotion.

It's the kind of document that an ecumenist could read and think "well this is pretty conservative but it doesn't repudiate our commitment to the ecumenist project" while a less-than-careful traditionalist could say "look it says there must be no doctrinal concessions; no worries!" while ignoring the dangerous language about "renewing discussion of the ecumenical councils" or even the fact that "no doctrinal concessions" is left totally vague. The MP is smart and knows how to play both sides. Coupled with the fact the MP has not backed up even these weak words with action, such as withdrawal from the WCC, there is still no reason for True Orthodox Christians to join with them.

if you want to know the ROCA's position on ecumenism, read the Sorrowful Epistles of Metropolitan Philaret. Compare and contrast:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/phil_cat.aspx
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2009, 08:58:13 PM »

oops wrong link, although that one is also good since it shows the ROCA's former solidarity with the catacomb church.

here is the right link:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/sorrow.aspx
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2009, 09:08:33 PM »


if you want to know the ROCA's position on ecumenism, read the Sorrowful Epistles of Metropolitan Philaret. Compare and contrast:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/phil_cat.aspx

I used to know these by heart as a youngster.  However things have improved greatly since the 1960s.   No longer do we have Greek bishops removing mention of the Mother of God from a televised Liturgy so as not to offend the Protestants.


Our model of ecumenism should be the activity of Saint Mark of Ephesus - a willingness to travel many difficult miles to attend a great ecumenical meeting in Italy, a willingness to meet and talk yet without compromising the holy Faith. This is also the ecumenism of our holy Father Justin of Celije.

There is no doubt that some of the representatives of Orthodoxy have sometimes strayed from this Royal Path, both the canonical Churches which (especially in the 60s and 70s) engaged in some foolish activities, and also the representatives of the dissident "Traditonalist" Orthodox groups which have refused to engage in conversation with the heterodox (and even with one another!!)  Neither of these excesses would be approved by Saint Mark.
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2009, 09:28:19 PM »


if you want to know the ROCA's position on ecumenism, read the Sorrowful Epistles of Metropolitan Philaret. Compare and contrast:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/phil_cat.aspx

I used to know these by heart as a youngster.  However things have improved greatly since the 1960s.   No longer do we have Greek bishops removing mention of the Mother of God from a televised Liturgy so as not to offend the Protestants.


Our model of ecumenism should be the activity of Saint Mark of Ephesus - a willingness to travel many difficult miles to attend a great ecumenical meeting in Italy, a willingness to meet and talk yet without compromising the holy Faith. This is also the ecumenism of our holy Father Justin of Celije.

There is no doubt that some of the representatives of Orthodoxy have sometimes strayed from this Royal Path, both the canonical Churches which (especially in the 60s and 70s) engaged in some foolish activities, and also the representatives of the dissident "Traditonalist" Orthodox groups which have refused to engage in conversation with the heterodox (and even with one another!!)  Neither of these excesses would be approved by Saint Mark.


Even if things are that much better, which I think is debatable (remember, since the 60s we've had many more WCC meetings and resolutions, some far worse than the 60s, the Chambesy agreement and communion with the non-Chalcedonians, the Balamand agreement declaring that Catholics and Orthodox are two lungs, the EP giving communion to Latins in Ravenna in 2002 etc etc), they are still not good enough. Remember the Charter of the WCC requires recognition of other bodies as part of the universal Church:

The primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship. In seeking koinonia in faith and life, witness and service, the churches through the council will:

* Promote the prayerful search for forgiveness and reconciliation in a spirit of mutual accountability, the development of deeper relationships through theological dialogue, and the sharing of human, spiritual, and material resources with one another;

* Facilitate common witness in each place and in all places, and support each other in their work for mission and evangelism;

* Nurture the growth of an ecumenical consciousness through processes of education and a vision of life in community rooted in each particular cultural context; * Assist one another in their relationships to and with people of other faith communities;

* Foster renewal and growth in unity, worship, mission and service.

In order to foster the one ecumenical movement, the Council will:

* Nurture relations with and among churches, especially within, but also beyond its membership;

* Establish and maintain relations with national councils, regional conferences of churches, organizations of Christian World Communions, and other ecumenical bodies;

* Support ecumenical initiatives at regional, national, and local levels;

* Facilitate the creation of networks among ecumenical organizations;

* Work towards maintaining the coherence of the one ecumenical movement in its diverse manifestations.

These are still in force; all members must accept them. Note how all these points imply recognition of other bodies as actual 'churches', which is unacceptable language for Orthodox. Heretical bodies are not 'churches' and we must not lead them to think they are, for our sake and theirs.

St Mark eventually left the Council after only a few days since he was getting nowhere with the Latins and his fellow Orthodox hierarchs were undermining him by agreeing to the Pope's terms. Leaving the WCC is precisely what these jurisdictions are NOT doing.

Acceptable dialog is not about resolving differences, as the WCC charter imagines, it's about persuading the heterodox of the Truth of Orthodoxy, which also means persuading them of their own errors. This can be done irenically or polemically depending on circumstances, but that's what must be done. This is the kind of conversation and dialog that the True Orthodox have. And in fact, we DO talk to each other about resolving our (administrative, not dogmatic) differences.


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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2009, 09:40:16 PM »


Even if things are that much better, which I think is debatable (remember, since the 60s we've had many more WCC meetings and resolutions, some far worse than the 60s,

the Chambesy agreement

Not ratified by any Synod of any Orthodox Church as far as I know.


Quote
the Balamand agreement declaring that Catholics and Orthodox are two lungs

Not ratified by any Synod of any Orthodox Church.  There was only ONE Orthodox Church which accepted and ratified Balamand (and I think that was Romania which has since rejected its ratification anyway.)  All other Orthodox Churches refused to ratify it.

Many of the signatories at Balamand were simply laymen.  In the case of the Church of Russia it was Father Igumen Nestor (Zhilyaev) who represented Russia and signed the Agreement.  It was repudiated as soon as he was back in Russia.



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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 12:17:18 AM »

Hello Jonathan Gress

You should find the following informative:

THY WILL BE DONE
The 16 points of Metropolitan Philaret
By George Nekrasov

Those who oppose the re-unification of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) and the Moscow Patriarchate often base their views on the admonitions of Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), the Third Primate of the ROCOR. As an Archimandrite (of the Moscow Patriarchate) in Harbin, China, he had many hard and harsh experiences. During the Cultural Revolution, the Red Guards used to abuse him, spit on him in the streets, throw stones at him, and set his flat alight. He also came into contact with those Moscow hierarchs who were willing tools of the Soviet Government. When he left China, he unhesitatingly joined the ROCOR, and, much to his surprise, was soon consecrated as the Bishop of Brisbane (Australia) in May, 1963. Less than a year later, in April, 1964, to his even greater surprise, he was elected as the Primate of the ROCOR. In those days he was implacably critical of the Moscow hierarchy, so much so, that some of his detractors accused him of being “vicious.” (We shall deal with this aspect later).

In 1965 Metropolitan Philaret promulgated an Epistle in which he strongly and clearly explained the reasons for his implacability towards the Moscow Patriarchate. We should remember that before entering the Church, he had received a technical education and was a professional engineer. This inevitably left a mark on his methodology, in particular this was expressed in attention to detail and clarity of statements. For this reason his Epistle contained sixteen points which explained his implacable attitude. In those days it was impossible to argue against those points. Let us examine these sixteen points and see to what extent they apply to our time:

“...This is why, whether anyone likes it or not, The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia will continue to exist and will continue to speak up in the defence of the Faith. She will not be silenced:

1. “For as long as the Soviet power will continue to conduct a merciless persecution against the Church and its believers, as can be seen from all the Soviet media, except the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate.”

As of 1992 the Soviet Government and the Soviet power vanished “as the smoke vanishes, as the candle wax melts before fire.” Only its shards are left behind and there is no evidence of any Government attack on the Church. The point is no longer valid.

2. “For as long as there exists a Secret Catacomb Truly-Orthodox, as is being reported by the same Soviet Media, this Church by its very existence testifies to the persecution of the Faith and a complete lack of freedom of confession.”

The Catacomb Church has come out into the open a long time ago. The point is no longer valid.

3. “For as long as the Soviet Government continues to force the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate to lie, by stating that there is no persecution of the Church in the USSR, and that the Church is enjoying a full freedom in accordance to the Soviet Constitution. (Metropolitans Pimen Nikodim Ioann,... Archbishop Alexei and others.”

This shows how desperate the situation was in those years, and the struggle which the hierarchs had to wage as they attempted to save whatever could be saved. This was the so-called “Sergianism”, or a part of it. All this was condemned by the Jubilee Council of ROC-MP Bishops which was held in Moscow in 2000.

One may ask: “What about those who were involved in making those statements?” We must remember, however, the words of one of the Soviet Party leaders as he boasted that of the 30 bishops in office at that time, 10 were co-operating, 10 refused to co-operate, and a further 10 were pretending to co-operate, whilst in fact attempting to achieve something for the Church. We should remember that the principal KGB-hierarch, the former Metropolitan of Kiev Philaret (Denisenko), was not merely defrocked, but also excommunicated. Since the fall of Communism some 150 more bishops have been consecrated, none of them subject to any Soviet Government pressure. The point is no longer valid.

4. “Until the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, under orders from the Government mentions at least one church which was closed down or razed, whereas the Soviet media report hundreds and thousands.”

Hundreds and thousands were named - without any prompting. The point is no longer valid.

5. “For as long as the churches in the USSR will continue to be desecrated by the godless, being turned into cinemas, store-houses, museums, clubs, apartments etc, as witnessed by tourists visiting the Soviet Union.”

Following the downfall of the Soviet system all this came to an end. Today, on the contrary, visitors to Russia observe a developing Church life. The point is no longer valid.

6. “Until thousands of desecrated churches will be re-established as churches of our Lord.”

Churches are being restored, razed churches are being rebuilt, and new churches are being constructed. For example: the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Cathedral of the Mother of God of Kazan in Moscow, the Church on the Spilt Blood in Ekaterinburg, as well as a multitude of others. The point is no longer valid.

7. “Until such time as the representatives of the Soviet Government, wearing spiritual robes, cease to spread propaganda in favour of the godless Soviet System, thus dressing a wolf in sheep's clothing.”

The Soviet System is no more. On the contrary, today's rulers of Russia do not boast about their atheism, but make considerable efforts to appear as practising Christians; as undoubtedly, some of them are. The point is no longer valid.

8. “Until such time as the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate cease to deny the horrible ruination of the Pochaev Monastery (Lavra), an almost total extermination of its monastic brothers and dreadful persecution of believers, including violent beating and murders, (Letters from the USSR).”

There are several aspects involved. First of all, all denials have ceased a long time ago, secondly, monastic life is currently undergoing a revival in all of Russia, and also in Ukraine and Belarus. Thirdly, the Pochaev Lavra is currently subject to a struggle between the Russian Orthodox Church, the “Denisenko” schismatics, and the Uniates. Fourthly, the persecution and even murder of the pilgrims, still occurs at times, but this is no longer due to any Government policy, but rather of the criminal remnants of the Soviet system. A struggle against them continues, and nobody denies it. The point is no longer valid.

9. “Until such time as the priests who are being indicted by the Soviet Courts are allowed to mount their defence through the Soviet media.”
This is now permitted. The point is no longer valid.

10. “Until such time as the torrent of falsehood, ridicule and mockery of the Faith, the Church, the clergy, the monastics and the believers generally, ease in the Soviet Press.”

Indeed this has not yet fully ceased, however, once again it is the work of the remnants of the Soviet power, but also of the `liberal” pro-Western Media. This has to be dealt with and in this struggle the participation of the Church Outside of Russia can be of considerable value. The point is no longer valid.

11. “Until such time as every believer in the USSR is given the right openly to defend and confess his Faith.”

This right now exists, and the confession of Faith is not a mere formality. We must remember the very ordinary conscript soldier, Private Evgeny Rodionov, who, when captured by the Chechens, refused to remove his baptismal Cross and was clutching it against his chest, even whilst being decapitated! The point is no longer valid.

12. “Until such time as the children and the young people are allowed to learn about the basics of their Faith, attend and participate in church services and receive the Holy Communion.”

This is now permitted. Once again there are forces which do their best to sabotage this freedom. A struggle against them is being waged. There are Orthodox High Schools, Cadet Corps schools where religion is being taught. The traditional Russian Orthodox Scout Movement has been revived and is growing. The Russian Diaspora was instrumental in all the above developments, and is capable of doing (and should be doing!) more. The point is no longer valid.

13. “Until such time as the parents who are believers are allowed to baptise their children, without any adverse effect on their career prospects, or personal wellbeing.”

This is now permitted. One can see many children attending church services. The point is no longer valid.

14. “Until such time as the parents who provide religious upbringing to their children are freed from prosecution for “mutilation” of their children, consequently being deprived of their freedom, with both the parents and the children being committed either to psychiatric institutions or prisons.”

This fight was lost by the godless power. The point is no longer valid.

15. “Until the freedom of though, freedom of activity and freedom of choice is granted, not merely to believers, but to all citizens of the Soviet Union, and principally to the authors and others involved in creative thinking, who are now subjected to particularly severe oppression by extreme methods.”

The “godless power” lost this fight and disappeared into history. The point is no longer valid.

16. “Until the Church and any religious communities in general in the USSR are granted even the most primitive rights... In other words, until the legal position of all the religious communities ceases to be equally deprived of any rights.”

These rights are now held by all kind of communities, ranging from the Old Believers to Hare Krishna. The point is no longer valid.

Thus, if we remember that the late Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), originally received an engineering and technical education, we can conclude that the above 16 points were, in essence, specifications for reunion. As one can see from the above, the very course of events caused ALL these points to be satisfied.

Nowadays a multitude of tourists and pilgrims in Russia can see miracle performing icons, the relics of the saints and new martyrs, they can see a blossoming monastic life, they can see an unbelievable scope of church restoration and building. It is significant that today there are more functioning monasteries in Russia, than there are parishes in the entire Russian Diaspora. This indicates God's blessing. We should also remember that shortly before his death in 1983, Metropolitan Philaret, whose incorrupt body rests at Jordanville, bequeathed his personal vestments to the Patriarch of Moscow. They were recently delivered accordingly and were received with due honour and veneration. (So much for Metropolitan Philaret's “vicious attitude” towards Moscow!).

During the 1960s and 1970s the Church Abroad marked each anniversary of the martyrdom of Tsar Nicholas and his family by a special prayer of repentance. The central words of this prayer were: “Deliver us through Thy miracles and grant glory to Thy name, O Lord...” When, in August 1991, the godless Communist regime shattered without any shedding of blood, it was indeed a miracle, and today the name of our Lord is glorified across all the vast expanses of Russia. In short, the prayer was answered.

We should also remember that during the entire first nine centuries of the history of the Russian Church, only two hierarchs lived to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their consecration. Then, in the 1950s, this was celebrated first by Metropolitan Anastassy, the primate of the Church Outside of Russia, then by Metropolitan Vladimir, the Paris Exarch of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and finally by Patriarch Alexei I of Moscow. This must mean something, for God’s work is no coincidence or accident!

(Source: “The Voice”, vol. 6, no. 8, April 2007)
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2009, 02:17:09 AM »

St Mark eventually left the Council after only a few days since he was getting nowhere with the Latins and his fellow Orthodox hierarchs were undermining him by agreeing to the Pope's terms. Leaving the WCC is precisely what these jurisdictions are NOT doing.

Curious on what you base this claim? Every account of Florence I've seen has St. Mark remaining to the very end. See, for example, the well-sourced (and decidely anti-ecumenical in perspective) account here: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/stmark.aspx which includes a contemporary account of the final meeting between the Pope and St Mark--*after* everyone else had signed and the saint was still refusing to do so.
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2009, 02:43:55 AM »


St Mark eventually left the Council after only a few days since he was getting nowhere with the Latins and his fellow Orthodox hierarchs were undermining him by agreeing to the Pope's terms. Leaving the WCC is precisely what these jurisdictions are NOT doing.

Left after a few days?  Not so.  Saint Mark attended this large ecumenical meeting summoned by the Pope in Italy.  It comprised  Roman Catholics, Easterm Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox (Copts, even Ethiopians.)

Saint Mark was there at the opening of this ecumenical meeting of all the world's Churches of those days - in fact he delivered the opening address to the Pope at the Council's opening ceremony in 1437.  (Something for which today's anti-ecumenists would condemn him.)

And he was there several years later when, at its close, he refused to sign the documents.

http://www.roca.org/OA/26/26f.htm
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2009, 11:41:32 AM »


Even if things are that much better, which I think is debatable (remember, since the 60s we've had many more WCC meetings and resolutions, some far worse than the 60s,

the Chambesy agreement

Not ratified by any Synod of any Orthodox Church as far as I know.


Quote
the Balamand agreement declaring that Catholics and Orthodox are two lungs

Not ratified by any Synod of any Orthodox Church.  There was only ONE Orthodox Church which accepted and ratified Balamand (and I think that was Romania which has since rejected its ratification anyway.)  All other Orthodox Churches refused to ratify it.

Many of the signatories at Balamand were simply laymen.  In the case of the Church of Russia it was Father Igumen Nestor (Zhilyaev) who represented Russia and signed the Agreement.  It was repudiated as soon as he was back in Russia.





From our point of view, it doesn't really matter whether there was some added ratification of these agreements, since neither was there an explicit repudiation or a censure of those who took part. And in view of the actual intercommunion being practiced between the Antiochians and the non-Chalcedonians, or the continuing mutual prayer practiced between the Vatican and the EP (e.g. Ravenna 2002, Istanbul 2006), we can clearly see that the practice indicates acceptance of these agreements regardless.
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2009, 11:44:31 AM »

St Mark eventually left the Council after only a few days since he was getting nowhere with the Latins and his fellow Orthodox hierarchs were undermining him by agreeing to the Pope's terms. Leaving the WCC is precisely what these jurisdictions are NOT doing.

Curious on what you base this claim? Every account of Florence I've seen has St. Mark remaining to the very end. See, for example, the well-sourced (and decidely anti-ecumenical in perspective) account here: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/stmark.aspx which includes a contemporary account of the final meeting between the Pope and St Mark--*after* everyone else had signed and the saint was still refusing to do so.

I'm sorry for this factual error. I can't remember where I got this information from but I'll look into it.
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2009, 11:57:25 AM »


St Mark eventually left the Council after only a few days since he was getting nowhere with the Latins and his fellow Orthodox hierarchs were undermining him by agreeing to the Pope's terms. Leaving the WCC is precisely what these jurisdictions are NOT doing.

Left after a few days?  Not so.  Saint Mark attended this large ecumenical meeting summoned by the Pope in Italy.  It comprised  Roman Catholics, Easterm Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox (Copts, even Ethiopians.)

Saint Mark was there at the opening of this ecumenical meeting of all the world's Churches of those days - in fact he delivered the opening address to the Pope at the Council's opening ceremony in 1437.  (Something for which today's anti-ecumenists would condemn him.)

And he was there several years later when, at its close, he refused to sign the documents.

http://www.roca.org/OA/26/26f.htm

Yes you're right, it does appear he remained till the end of the proceedings.  I'm not sure where I got this 'information'; it could be it was confused with the episode recorded in the article you linked, that the Emperor forbade him from further participation owing to his refusal to sign the accord.

However, this doesn't alter my main point, which is that St Mark attended the Council on the understanding that the Catholics would be reconciled to the Orthodox Church, not on the understanding of modern ecumenism, that both sides have to find common ground and compromise.

I don't see why we would have condemned St Mark's opening speech seeing as he made clear that his Church possessed the fullness of Truth, because he DOESN'T say that the Pope and his followers are also in the Church in any way. Clearly he was being irenical, not wishing to emphasize at that point that the Latins were outside the Church, but rather that he himself was in the Church. Remember the Popes at that time were quite militant in their beliefs that membership of the Church REQUIRED submission to the Papacy. St Mark's mildness must be understood in the context of this Papal militancy.
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2009, 12:04:28 PM »


Even if things are that much better, which I think is debatable (remember, since the 60s we've had many more WCC meetings and resolutions, some far worse than the 60s,

the Chambesy agreement

Not ratified by any Synod of any Orthodox Church as far as I know.


Quote
the Balamand agreement declaring that Catholics and Orthodox are two lungs

Not ratified by any Synod of any Orthodox Church.  There was only ONE Orthodox Church which accepted and ratified Balamand (and I think that was Romania which has since rejected its ratification anyway.)  All other Orthodox Churches refused to ratify it.

Many of the signatories at Balamand were simply laymen.  In the case of the Church of Russia it was Father Igumen Nestor (Zhilyaev) who represented Russia and signed the Agreement.  It was repudiated as soon as he was back in Russia.





From our point of view, it doesn't really matter whether there was some added ratification of these agreements, since neither was there an explicit repudiation or a censure of those who took part. And in view of the actual intercommunion being practiced between the Antiochians and the non-Chalcedonians, or the continuing mutual prayer practiced between the Vatican and the EP (e.g. Ravenna 2002, Istanbul 2006), we can clearly see that the practice indicates acceptance of these agreements regardless.

The Balamand Agreement has not been implemented.  On the contrary it has been widely violated.  Here are some of the Practical Rules it decreed.
http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx

22). Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox.

Consistently violated by the Catholic Church in Russia and the Ukraine.

27) Suspicion would disappear more easily if the two parties were to condemn violence wherever communities of one Church use it against communities of a Sister Church. As requested by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in his letter of 31 May 1991, it is necessary that all violence and every kind of pressure be absolutely avoided in order that freedom of conscience be respected.

Consistently violated by the Catholic Church in Russia and the Ukraine, especially in the Ukraine where hundreds of Orthodox churches have been seized by Catholics.
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28) Faith in sacramental reality implies a respect for the liturgical celebrations of the other Church. The use of violence to occupy a place of worship contradicts this conviction.

Consistently violated by the Catholic Church, especially in the Ukraine where hundreds of Orthodox churches have been seized by Catholics employing violent means.

It is simply a joke to say that the Provisions of Balamand have been implemented.  The very actions of the Catholics in Orthodox countries have shown their repudiation of it.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2009, 12:12:29 PM »


However, this doesn't alter my main point, which is that St Mark attended the Council on the understanding that the Catholics would be reconciled to the Orthodox Church, not on the understanding of modern ecumenism, that both sides have to find common ground and compromise.


I think you may be mistaken.   If yopu have perused the document I referenced for you - the 2000 Millennial statement of the Russian Church on ecumenism- you will have seen that compromise is the furthest thing from their thoughts.
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2009, 12:19:34 PM »

Orthodox Ecumenism:  From Oberlin 1957 to Ravenna 2007

To get some sense of balance and background knowledge into this conversation I
want to present a few official examples which show the consistency and
ultra-conservatism of the official Orthodox viewpoint throughout the years of
ecumenism... the unbending and inflexible insistence that Orthodoxy alone
constitutes the One Church. Yes, there were weird lapses at some events such as
the pagan smoke ceremony but on a deeper level the Orthodox have not strayed
from their own reality.




1. 1957.... The Statement of the Representatives of the Greek Orthodox
Church in the USA at the North American Faith and Order Study
Conference, Oberlin, Ohio, September 1957. This is quite unequivocal
about the uniqueness of Orthodoxy as the Church.

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/gocamerica_faith_or\
der_sept_1957.htm



2. 1980s.... The contretemps in the 1980s at the International Roman
Catholic-Orthodox Theological Dialogue which saw a walk-out of the
Catholic participants when the Orthodox delegates declared that they
were unable to accept Catholic baptism per se. These were not fringy
palaeohiemerologhites but the most ecumenically minded bishops and
theologians of the canonical Orthodox Churches. This question has
never been revisited in the international dialogue but one day it will
need to be faced head on.


3. 1986.... Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar (WCC)
Conference, Chambesy, 1986:

"The Orthodox Church, however, faithful to her ecclesiology, to the
identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the
undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the
idea of the "equality of confessions" and cannot consider Church
unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity
which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of
theological agreements alone. God calls every Christian to the unity
of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as
experienced in the Orthodox Church."

Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy,
1986

Section III, Paragraph 6
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/ecumenical-movement/chambesy-1986


4. 1997..... Even the most ecumenical Patriarch of Micklegarth His
Divine All-Holiness Bartholomew scandalised the Catholics with his
presentation at the Jesuit University of Georgetown in 1997 when he
declared:

"The manner in which we exist has become ontologically different.
Unless our ontological transfiguration and transformation toward one
common model of life is achieved, not only in form but also in
substance, unity and its accompanying realization become impossible."

Full text at
http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/bartholomew_phos.html


The Jesuits declared morosely that Patr. Bartholomew had set the
dialogue back 10 years.  Nobody else really understood what
the Patriarch had said,


5. 2000..... The important Statement on Orthodoxy and its ecumenical
relationships with non-Orthodox Churches issued by the 2000
Millennial Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church:

"Basic Principles of the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Toward the
Other Christian Confessions"

It basically repeats what the Greeks said at Oberlin Ohio in 1957
and even more emphatically - the boundaries of the Church are
the Orthodox Church herself.

Concerning the Branch Theory...
2.5. "The so-called "branch theory", which is connected with the conception
referred to above and asserts the normal and even providential nature of
Christianity existing in the form of particular "branches", is also totally
unacceptable."

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/roc_other_christian_confessions.htm



6. 2007..... Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Meeting Ravenna
Sept 07

"Note [1] Orthodox participants felt it important to emphasize that
the use of the terms "the Church", "the universal Church", "the
indivisible Church" and "the Body of Christ" in this document and in
similar documents produced by the Joint Commission in no way
undermines the self-understanding of the Orthodox Church as the one,
holy, catholic and apostolic Church, of which the Nicene Creed
speaks."

http://www.orthodoxeurope.org/page/14/130.aspx#2

Fr Ambrose

-oOo-

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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2009, 12:29:48 PM »


However, this doesn't alter my main point, which is that St Mark attended the Council on the understanding that the Catholics would be reconciled to the Orthodox Church, not on the understanding of modern ecumenism, that both sides have to find common ground and compromise.


I think you may be mistaken.   If yopu have perused the document I referenced for you - the 2000 Millennial statement of the Russian Church on ecumenism- you will have seen that compromise is the furthest thing from their thoughts.

As I said earlier, the MP is a master at saying two contradictory things at once. Take this interview with Bp Hilarion I just found:

http://incommunion.org/?p=428

At the start he says membership of the WCC does not require recognizing that other members are Churches in the 'literal' sense (which of course begs the question of just how the MP DOES understand the use of the term 'church'), then in the next paragraph he says this must not be taken to mean that these are simply 'charitable organizations'. He says the non-Chalcedonians 'share our theological beliefs' which we happen to know is wrong since they do not accept the last four Ecumenical Councils. He talks about the basic theological criteria for membership, even though the Orthodox make no such distinction etc etc

Also read his account of the WCC Porto Alegre meeting.

Aside from all this, the MP is STILL in the WCC even though there is no reason from the point of view of confessing Orthodoxy for them to be there. As I said, words are not enough: the True Orthodox want action as well.
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2009, 12:45:47 PM »

Orthodox Ecumenism:  From Oberlin 1957 to Ravenna 2007

To get some sense of balance and background knowledge into this conversation I
want to present a few official examples which show the consistency and
ultra-conservatism of the official Orthodox viewpoint throughout the years of
ecumenism... the unbending and inflexible insistence that Orthodoxy alone
constitutes the One Church. Yes, there were weird lapses at some events such as
the pagan smoke ceremony but on a deeper level the Orthodox have not strayed
from their own reality.




1. 1957.... The Statement of the Representatives of the Greek Orthodox
Church in the USA at the North American Faith and Order Study
Conference, Oberlin, Ohio, September 1957. This is quite unequivocal
about the uniqueness of Orthodoxy as the Church.

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/gocamerica_faith_or\
der_sept_1957.htm



2. 1980s.... The contretemps in the 1980s at the International Roman
Catholic-Orthodox Theological Dialogue which saw a walk-out of the
Catholic participants when the Orthodox delegates declared that they
were unable to accept Catholic baptism per se. These were not fringy
palaeohiemerologhites but the most ecumenically minded bishops and
theologians of the canonical Orthodox Churches. This question has
never been revisited in the international dialogue but one day it will
need to be faced head on.


3. 1986.... Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar (WCC)
Conference, Chambesy, 1986:

"The Orthodox Church, however, faithful to her ecclesiology, to the
identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the
undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the
idea of the "equality of confessions" and cannot consider Church
unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity
which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of
theological agreements alone. God calls every Christian to the unity
of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as
experienced in the Orthodox Church."

Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy,
1986

Section III, Paragraph 6
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/ecumenical-movement/chambesy-1986


4. 1997..... Even the most ecumenical Patriarch of Micklegarth His
Divine All-Holiness Bartholomew scandalised the Catholics with his
presentation at the Jesuit University of Georgetown in 1997 when he
declared:

"The manner in which we exist has become ontologically different.
Unless our ontological transfiguration and transformation toward one
common model of life is achieved, not only in form but also in
substance, unity and its accompanying realization become impossible."

Full text at
http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/bartholomew_phos.html


The Jesuits declared morosely that Patr. Bartholomew had set the
dialogue back 10 years.  Nobody else really understood what
the Patriarch had said,


5. 2000..... The important Statement on Orthodoxy and its ecumenical
relationships with non-Orthodox Churches issued by the 2000
Millennial Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church:

"Basic Principles of the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Toward the
Other Christian Confessions"

It basically repeats what the Greeks said at Oberlin Ohio in 1957
and even more emphatically - the boundaries of the Church are
the Orthodox Church herself.

Concerning the Branch Theory...
2.5. "The so-called "branch theory", which is connected with the conception
referred to above and asserts the normal and even providential nature of
Christianity existing in the form of particular "branches", is also totally
unacceptable."

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/roc_other_christian_confessions.htm



6. 2007..... Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Meeting Ravenna
Sept 07

"Note [1] Orthodox participants felt it important to emphasize that
the use of the terms "the Church", "the universal Church", "the
indivisible Church" and "the Body of Christ" in this document and in
similar documents produced by the Joint Commission in no way
undermines the self-understanding of the Orthodox Church as the one,
holy, catholic and apostolic Church, of which the Nicene Creed
speaks."

http://www.orthodoxeurope.org/page/14/130.aspx#2

Fr Ambrose

-oOo-



Words, words, words...

So Patriarch Bartholomew says we are 'ontologically different'. That could mean absolutely anything you want it to. Of course even this was too cautious for the Jesuits, but are they going to decide where to draw the line?

The MP says the Branch Theory is unacceptable since it implies that the Church is One despite divisions. Well and good, but they were singing a different tune when they signed the resolutions of the Porto Alegre meeting:

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/porto-alegre-2006/1-statements-documents-adopted/christian-unity-and-message-to-the-churches/called-to-be-the-one-church-revised.html

Anyway, it really is also incorrect to say Christianity is divided if you take seriously Christ's promise that his Body will always be One.

If the MP or any other body were serious about their opposition to ecumenism, rather than using cautious language to appease the traditionalists within their ranks, they would withdraw from the WCC at once, break communion with other ecumenist jurisdictions, and ask to be reconciled with those jurisdictions that have always opposed ecumenism, such as the True Orthodox Church of Greece or of Russia.
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2009, 05:44:14 PM »

As for the matter of ecumenism, if the joint prayer meetings of the EP with heterodox, which are EGREGIOUS canonical infractions, don't already impress you with the gravity of the situation, I honestly don't know what will. If the communion between Antioch and the non-Chalcedonians seems unimportant, what does seem important then? The True Orthodox, first in Greece and then in Russia, have been watching the whole ecumenical movement from the outside and I think we have a different perspective. The conservatives in your jurisdictions turn a blind eye to every new infraction, but every little concession the ecumenists make is blown out of all proportion. Certainly events like the Thessalonica conference, condemning SOME aspects of Orthodox participation in the WCC, are welcome as far as they go, but that's the thing: they don't go very far. That conference is now ten years old and hasn't resulted in the withdrawal of any jurisdictions (I think; Bulgaria and Georgia had already withdrawn, though they are still in communion with the ecumenists). For your part (assuming you are conservatives and basically agree with us that ecumenism is a heresy), you give your hierarchs the benefit of the doubt (and my what doubt!), whereas we give them the burden of proof. We say: "if you truly love Orthodoxy, renounce ecumenism unreservedly and we will join you gladly!". We're still waiting.

Brother, I think you have misread me or do not understand where I am coming from....Allow me to pose a Hypothetical Situation for you.

As a child, you are raised in a Protestant household. Your Father and Mother are pious people who pray, go to church, and actively lead lives that outshine even some Orthodox believers, and believe in the Trinity as God. They do not disagree with the Nicene Creed. 
You as a Protestant Christian, realize something is missing though from the depth of the teachings you were raised in, and so you begin to search. When you come upon Orthodoxy and see it in it's fullness, you openly recieve it and are baptized in the faith.

Now, much older, you still have a relationship with your parents. They have watched how Orthodoxy has changed you, given you something they do not have, though they can't admit it yet. But they still consider you as one of their own, family. Even their closest friends and relatives, also born in their faith still look at you as one of them.

Suddenly tragedy strikes within your family and they call you or ask you to come over. While visiting them, your Father or a dear friend of theirs (it does not matter which) begins to pray to God - which they understand as The Holy Trinity - in the name of Jesus that He grant mercy and forgiveness, healing and repentance for your family. He does not see the divide you see, but you do. You are now Orthodox. You see the small rifts and the big ones within your beliefs. You know about the seperations that happened in History.

Should you stop up your ears and not pray too? Should you let these divisions keep you from praying to God for the benefit of His people, with them? Should you hold these divisions against them? Should you not speak to them? Should you allow your Full understanding or their incomplete or incorrect understanding of the Sacraments of the church be a wall which seperates you?

Or should you pray with them? Should you even begin to lead the prayer? Should you look past the differences to the similarities? Should you council them? Should you do everything you can to assist your family and dear friends in this tragedy and work with them to a common goal? Should you be an example and a light unto them, worshipping in the fullness of faith which you have found?


Quote inserted to give context, for I am about to move this post and a few more to another, more appropriate location  -PtA
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2009, 06:27:34 PM »

Brother, I think you have misread me or do not understand where I am coming from....Allow me to pose a Hypothetical Situation for you.

As a child, you are raised in a Protestant household. Your Father and Mother are pious people who pray, go to church, and actively lead lives that outshine even some Orthodox believers, and believe in the Trinity as God. They do not disagree with the Nicene Creed. 
You as a Protestant Christian, realize something is missing though from the depth of the teachings you were raised in, and so you begin to search. When you come upon Orthodoxy and see it in it's fullness, you openly recieve it and are baptized in the faith.

Now, much older, you still have a relationship with your parents. They have watched how Orthodoxy has changed you, given you something they do not have, though they can't admit it yet. But they still consider you as one of their own, family. Even their closest friends and relatives, also born in their faith still look at you as one of them.

Suddenly tragedy strikes within your family and they call you or ask you to come over. While visiting them, your Father or a dear friend of theirs (it does not matter which) begins to pray to God - which they understand as The Holy Trinity - in the name of Jesus that He grant mercy and forgiveness, healing and repentance for your family. He does not see the divide you see, but you do. You are now Orthodox. You see the small rifts and the big ones within your beliefs. You know about the seperations that happened in History.

Should you stop up your ears and not pray too? Should you let these divisions keep you from praying to God for the benefit of His people, with them? Should you hold these divisions against them? Should you not speak to them? Should you allow your Full understanding or their incomplete or incorrect understanding of the Sacraments of the church be a wall which seperates you?

Or should you pray with them? Should you even begin to lead the prayer? Should you look past the differences to the similarities? Should you council them? Should you do everything you can to assist your family and dear friends in this tragedy and work with them to a common goal? Should you be an example and a light unto them, worshipping in the fullness of faith which you have found?


 
I'm confused. Undecided  Just what are you addressing with the above hypothetical?
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2009, 06:47:53 PM »



 PTA, are you pulling my leg again? I was addressing Jonathon Gress'
 opinion of Orthodox community within the WCC.
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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2009, 07:02:27 PM »

If the MP or any other body were serious about their opposition to ecumenism, rather than using cautious language to appease the traditionalists within their ranks, they would withdraw from the WCC at once, break communion with other ecumenist jurisdictions, and ask to be reconciled with those jurisdictions that have always opposed ecumenism, such as the True Orthodox Church of Greece or of Russia.

The True Orthodoxy Movement and the Ecumenistic Heresy of an Invisible Church

One of the most deeply disturbing aspects of the modern "True Orthodoxy" Movement is its acceptance of the ecumenistic heresy of an invisible Church.  For them the Church exists as an invisible entity, composed of separate parts which do not share either visible unity or communion.  They share this heresy with both Protestantism and modern ecumenism.

It is true that a few of the ecclesial groups in the True Orthodoxy Movement do in fact claim to be the Church in its entirety and state that the other True Orthodox groups are graceless and outside the Church.  But the overwhelming majority of True Orthodox groups have adopted the heretical theory of an Invisible Church of which they are all members.
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2009, 07:08:40 PM »


 What we ask for is explicit and unconditional repudiation of the ecumenical movement and of the collarabation with the godless regime. Is that really too much to ask?

Jonathan,

Who are "we"?   Is there some coordinating body for the True Orthodoxy Movement which is authorised to speak in the name of all the ecclesial groups, Greek, Russian, Bulgarian, American, Romanian, Serbian?
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« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2009, 07:19:15 PM »

The Balamand Agreement has not been implemented.  On the contrary it has been widely violated.  Here are some of the Practical Rules it decreed.
http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx

22). Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox.

Consistently violated by the Catholic Church in Russia and the Ukraine.

27) Suspicion would disappear more easily if the two parties were to condemn violence wherever communities of one Church use it against communities of a Sister Church. As requested by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in his letter of 31 May 1991, it is necessary that all violence and every kind of pressure be absolutely avoided in order that freedom of conscience be respected.

Consistently violated by the Catholic Church in Russia and the Ukraine, especially in the Ukraine where hundreds of Orthodox churches have been seized by Catholics.
.
28) Faith in sacramental reality implies a respect for the liturgical celebrations of the other Church. The use of violence to occupy a place of worship contradicts this conviction.

Consistently violated by the Catholic Church, especially in the Ukraine where hundreds of Orthodox churches have been seized by Catholics employing violent means.

It is simply a joke to say that the Provisions of Balamand have been implemented.  The very actions of the Catholics in Orthodox countries have shown their repudiation of it.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx


Father,

That is a rather subjective reading of events.  For all the claims of Catholic sheep stealing I fail to see any evidence of it.  Unless one seriously wants to call those Ukrainian Greek Catholics who were consripted into the MP via the 1946 pseudo-synod of Lviv.  The membership of the Catholic Churches of Ukraine an Russia are both below pre-Communist takeover numbers.  I would wager there are more ex-Catholics in the Orthodox Churches of Western Europe than ex-Orthodox in the Catholic Churches of Russia and Ukraine.  I think it rather unrealistic to think that Catholic Church should have no former Orthodox as members.  Hundreds of Orthodox Churches?   Hundreds of Greek Catholic Churches seized by the Communists and taken back by their rightful owners.  The violence was indeed regretable, but as I posted on another thread, it seems unavoidable if the Romanian Orthodox Church's example is any indication of the Orthodox intention to return Greek Catholic property.

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« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2009, 07:22:13 PM »

Brother, I think you have misread me or do not understand where I am coming from....Allow me to pose a Hypothetical Situation for you.

As a child, you are raised in a Protestant household. Your Father and Mother are pious people who pray, go to church, and actively lead lives that outshine even some Orthodox believers, and believe in the Trinity as God. They do not disagree with the Nicene Creed. 
You as a Protestant Christian, realize something is missing though from the depth of the teachings you were raised in, and so you begin to search. When you come upon Orthodoxy and see it in it's fullness, you openly recieve it and are baptized in the faith.

Now, much older, you still have a relationship with your parents. They have watched how Orthodoxy has changed you, given you something they do not have, though they can't admit it yet. But they still consider you as one of their own, family. Even their closest friends and relatives, also born in their faith still look at you as one of them.

Suddenly tragedy strikes within your family and they call you or ask you to come over. While visiting them, your Father or a dear friend of theirs (it does not matter which) begins to pray to God - which they understand as The Holy Trinity - in the name of Jesus that He grant mercy and forgiveness, healing and repentance for your family. He does not see the divide you see, but you do. You are now Orthodox. You see the small rifts and the big ones within your beliefs. You know about the seperations that happened in History.

Should you stop up your ears and not pray too? Should you let these divisions keep you from praying to God for the benefit of His people, with them? Should you hold these divisions against them? Should you not speak to them? Should you allow your Full understanding or their incomplete or incorrect understanding of the Sacraments of the church be a wall which seperates you?

Or should you pray with them? Should you even begin to lead the prayer? Should you look past the differences to the similarities? Should you council them? Should you do everything you can to assist your family and dear friends in this tragedy and work with them to a common goal? Should you be an example and a light unto them, worshipping in the fullness of faith which you have found?


 

I was very much moved by this story and thank you for relating it.

Firstly, this situation is rather different from the one of participation by hierarchs in ecumenist prayer meetings. In the former, you speak of personal tragedy; in the latter, there is no tragedy, only the motives of religious syncretism.

Secondly, there is nothing wrong with Orthodox praying for non-Orthodox privately; as far as I know, it is only public services for non-Orthodox which are generally forbidden. In this occasion, it would actually have been a good opportunity (I think) to pray in an Orthodox manner in the presence of your relatives. For instance, you could say the Canon to the Theotokos or to our Lord. They could participate or not according to their wishes, but it would show first that you are not ashamed of Orthodoxy but also that you continue to love them and pray for them. I really do not think you should pretend to be a Protestant for their sakes, however, if that's what you mean by praying 'with' them. I am not a spiritual father, so someone with more pastoral experience like Fr Anastasios may be able to correct me on this, but I definitely don't see this as an impossible situation for someone firm in his faith.
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« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2009, 07:28:58 PM »


 What we ask for is explicit and unconditional repudiation of the ecumenical movement and of the collarabation with the godless regime. Is that really too much to ask?

Jonathan,

Who are "we"?   Is there some coordinating body for the True Orthodoxy Movement which is authorised to speak in the name of all the ecclesial groups, Greek, Russian, Bulgarian, American, Romanian, Serbian?

No there is no coordinating body. I am simply articulating the common doctrinal position shared by all the True Orthodox groups; although I recognize the administrative discord among our jurisdictions, as far as I know we all have the same demands with regard to what we call 'World Orthodoxy'. It is true that 'sergianism' is really only an issue for the Russian church and other churches in ex-communist countries. But since all those churches are also involved in ecumenism to a greater or lesser degree that is somewhat a red herring.
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« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2009, 07:41:53 PM »

If the MP or any other body were serious about their opposition to ecumenism, rather than using cautious language to appease the traditionalists within their ranks, they would withdraw from the WCC at once, break communion with other ecumenist jurisdictions, and ask to be reconciled with those jurisdictions that have always opposed ecumenism, such as the True Orthodox Church of Greece or of Russia.

The True Orthodoxy Movement and the Ecumenistic Heresy of an Invisible Church

One of the most deeply disturbing aspects of the modern "True Orthodoxy" Movement is its acceptance of the ecumenistic heresy of an invisible Church.  For them the Church exists as an invisible entity, composed of separate parts which do not share either visible unity or communion.  They share this heresy with both Protestantism and modern ecumenism.

It is true that a few of the ecclesial groups in the True Orthodoxy Movement do in fact claim to be the Church in its entirety and state that the other True Orthodox groups are graceless and outside the Church.  But the overwhelming majority of True Orthodox groups have adopted the heretical theory of an Invisible Church of which they are all members.


In the context of your next post, I take this to mean you don't understand why I treat the True Orthodox Churches of Russia and Greece on the same level. The fact is we do not see any doctrinal divisions (except in the case of Cyprian's group), so that the divisions within each country have only administrative causes. Of course, a schism is a schism whether prompted by doctrinal disagreements or otherwise, but the distinction is important since we can relate to each other differently if we understand we actually believe the same doctrine. The True Orthodox internal dialog has to do not with doctrinal negotiation or compromise but with clarifying and if possible rectifying administrative disputes.

As a matter of fact, my jurisdiction, the True Orthodox Church of Greece (Synod of Abp Chrysostomos of Athens) is preparing to enter into formal communion with the TOC of Russia (Synod of Abp Tikhon of Omsk). Our division was in fact not really a division, since we were previously in communion with ROCA, but after that body started falling apart we were unable to keep track of who was 'canonical' and who wasn't. The RTOC is one of those offshoot jurisdictions and as far as I know we recognize them now as a canonical True Orthodox jurisdiction. As for the others I'm less clear. We had some talks with the ROAC (Met Valentine of Suzdal), but nothing has come of that yet. We have been talking with HOCNA (Met Ephraim of Boston), and communion with them seems to be on the table as well. In any case, this is a completely different thing from ecumenism as you find it in the WCC.
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« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2009, 07:45:07 PM »

The Balamand Agreement has not been implemented.  On the contrary it has been widely violated.  Here are some of the Practical Rules it decreed.
http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx

22). Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox.

Consistently violated by the Catholic Church in Russia and the Ukraine.

27) Suspicion would disappear more easily if the two parties were to condemn violence wherever communities of one Church use it against communities of a Sister Church. As requested by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in his letter of 31 May 1991, it is necessary that all violence and every kind of pressure be absolutely avoided in order that freedom of conscience be respected.

Consistently violated by the Catholic Church in Russia and the Ukraine, especially in the Ukraine where hundreds of Orthodox churches have been seized by Catholics.
.
28) Faith in sacramental reality implies a respect for the liturgical celebrations of the other Church. The use of violence to occupy a place of worship contradicts this conviction.

Consistently violated by the Catholic Church, especially in the Ukraine where hundreds of Orthodox churches have been seized by Catholics employing violent means.

It is simply a joke to say that the Provisions of Balamand have been implemented.  The very actions of the Catholics in Orthodox countries have shown their repudiation of it.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.aspx


Father,

That is a rather subjective reading of events.  For all the claims of Catholic sheep stealing I fail to see any evidence of it.  Unless one seriously wants to call those Ukrainian Greek Catholics who were consripted into the MP via the 1946 pseudo-synod of Lviv.  The membership of the Catholic Churches of Ukraine an Russia are both below pre-Communist takeover numbers.  I would wager there are more ex-Catholics in the Orthodox Churches of Western Europe than ex-Orthodox in the Catholic Churches of Russia and Ukraine.  I think it rather unrealistic to think that Catholic Church should have no former Orthodox as members.  Hundreds of Orthodox Churches?   Hundreds of Greek Catholic Churches seized by the Communists and taken back by their rightful owners.  The violence was indeed regretable, but as I posted on another thread, it seems unavoidable if the Romanian Orthodox Church's example is any indication of the Orthodox intention to return Greek Catholic property.

Fr. Deacon Lance

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"Rightful owners" is a rather subjective reading of events:
Haven't we seen this before?
Quote
The Romanian Catholic Church has set February 11 as a day of strict fasting and prayer, as the Eastern-rite Church confronts a crisis in Romania.

Since the fall of that country's Communist regime, the Romanian Catholic Church has sought the return of parish properties that were confiscated during the Stalin era and turned over to Romanian Orthodox control. The Romanian Catholic Church, which endured fierce persecution under Communism, survived underground and returned to vigorous public life after the repressive regime led by Nicolae Ceausescu finally fell in 1989.

Still most of the confiscated church property remained under Orthodox control, and in many instances Eastern-rite Catholics have been forced to worship in schools and other public buildings, or even outdoors, rather than in the churches built by their forefathers. In a country where Orthodox believers form a clear majority, the Romanian government has been reluctant to press for restoration of Catholic properties. Disputes over the legal ownership of churches have caused considerable conflict between the two Eastern churches.
http://www.catholicculture.org/news/features/index.cfm?recnum=60286

For a little background, from the Orthodox side:
Quote
The issue of the Concordate with the Holy See

Although considered "a modern law, inspired by the historical, spiritual and denominational realities of Romania and founded on the international legislative norms, the law overlooked the legitimate requests of the ROC. This is the reason why the ROC had its reservations."19The main cause was the Concordate signed by the Romanian State with the Holy See on May 10, 1927, and voted by the Parliament on May 23, 1929, assigning the majority Church a position inferior to the minority Catholic Cult.
http://www.jsri.ro/old/html%20version/index/no_3/ioan_vasile_leb-articol.htm

Btw, the King of Romanian, Ferdinand, was not Orthodox but a communicant of the Vatican, and the oath of loyalty for the clergy were to him, not Romania.  The concoradant was first a secret agreement, and caused wide protests when revealed.

As a result of the concordant, the Vatican's holdings were exempt from land reform, and inherited crown lands and assets assigned to "Roman Catholic status" under the Hapsburgs.

When I was in Romania in 1992, I saw ads all over for the "Catechismul Bisericii Catolice" all over the place. Shortly before, JP II had said that "if the Romanians were really Romans, they would be Roman Catholic" (no recognition of the fact, that while the Romans were in Dacia, ancient Romania, the mass at Rome was in Greek). When I went to the cathedral of Bucharest, plenty were to be had, although the masses I recall were in Hungarian. This, when the English version was unavailable (that would be 5 more years), though the Vatican has far, far more Anglophones than Romanophones, and only a year after it had come out. What was that all about?
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« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2009, 07:53:26 PM »

As for the Catholics going back on the Balamand agreement: even if that were true, what relevance does that have when the deal never should have been made in the first place? We should also have gone back on it!
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« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2009, 08:11:22 PM »

As for the Catholics going back on the Balamand agreement: even if that were true, what relevance does that have when the deal never should have been made in the first place? We should also have gone back on it!

Just a reminder from my previous message that the Orthodox Churches did NOT ratify the Balamand Agreement.  You are beating a strawman.  The sole Russian representative and signatory at Balamand was Father Nestor (Zhilyaev.)  The signature of one monk can no more bind the Russian Synod to such an Agreement than your own priest's signature can bind your Church to any Agreement with the Vatican.

PS:  Just a small reminder that it was a minority of Orthodox Churches at Balamand.  8 if I remember correctly.  Most of the Orthodox Churches were simply not there. 
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« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2009, 08:52:39 PM »

If the MP or any other body were serious about their opposition to ecumenism, rather than using cautious language to appease the traditionalists within their ranks, they would withdraw from the WCC at once, break communion with other ecumenist jurisdictions, and ask to be reconciled with those jurisdictions that have always opposed ecumenism, such as the True Orthodox Church of Greece or of Russia.

The True Orthodoxy Movement and the Ecumenistic Heresy of an Invisible Church

One of the most deeply disturbing aspects of the modern "True Orthodoxy" Movement is its acceptance of the ecumenistic heresy of an invisible Church.  For them the Church exists as an invisible entity, composed of separate parts which do not share either visible unity or communion.  They share this heresy with both Protestantism and modern ecumenism.

It is true that a few of the ecclesial groups in the True Orthodoxy Movement do in fact claim to be the Church in its entirety and state that the other True Orthodox groups are graceless and outside the Church.  But the overwhelming majority of True Orthodox groups have adopted the heretical theory of an Invisible Church of which they are all members.


In any case, this is a completely different thing from ecumenism as you find it in the WCC.

The enemy of our salvation, the Abbot of Hell as my people call him, has prepared many variations on the heresy of "the Invisible Church."    Some fishhooks work better than others.   To the Protestants he has offered one variety.  To the WCC, another variety.  To the members of the True Orthodoxy Movement, another variety.   But all are laced with the smell of sulphur.
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« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2009, 09:25:26 PM »

"Rightful owners" is a rather subjective reading of events:

Not subjective at all.  By the time of the pseudo-synods of Lviv, Uzhorod, Presov, and Alba Iulia the majority of the churches in Greek Catholic possesion were built by Greek Catholics after the unions.  The Orthodox simply had no claim to them period. 

When I was in Romania in 1992, I saw ads all over for the "Catechismul Bisericii Catolice" all over the place. Shortly before, JP II had said that "if the Romanians were really Romans, they would be Roman Catholic" (no recognition of the fact, that while the Romans were in Dacia, ancient Romania, the mass at Rome was in Greek). When I went to the cathedral of Bucharest, plenty were to be had, although the masses I recall were in Hungarian. This, when the English version was unavailable (that would be 5 more years), though the Vatican has far, far more Anglophones than Romanophones, and only a year after it had come out. What was that all about?

I don't understand the question, what is it you want to know?
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« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2009, 09:37:06 PM »


Not subjective at all.  By the time of the pseudo-synods of Lviv, Uzhorod, Presov, and Alba Iulia the majority of the churches in Greek Catholic possesion were built by Greek Catholics after the unions.  The Orthodox simply had no claim to them period. 


Of course we can pull put rather bad examples of Catholic violence against the Orthodox in recent years.

His Grace Bishop Hilarion, a paper delivered on 7 October 2002 at the University of St Thomas (St Paul, Minessota, USA), and repeated on 9 October 2002 at the Catholic University of America (Washington D.C).


"January 1990 saw the creation of the so-called Quadrennial Commission, which comprised representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Roman Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Eastern Rite Catholics from Western Ukraine. The Commission began to discuss concrete cases of human rights violations during the campaign launched by the Uniates. In March 1990, the Commission developed basic principles for the distribution of the property between the Greek Catholics and the Orthodox. It was agreed that, where there are two churches, one should be given to the Greek Catholics and another one remain Orthodox; where there is only one church, it should belong to the majority group, which must in this case help the minority find or build a suitable place of worship. However, on 13 March 1990, the Greek Catholics unilaterally left the Commission.

"From then on the seizure of the Orthodox churches (some of them had belonged to the Orthodox even before the Union of 1596) assumed an avalanche-like character. In many places violent methods were employed by the Greek Catholics as they seized Orthodox churches and expelled parishioners from their places of worship. Tensions between the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics led to clashes and mass disorders. By the end of 1990, most churches in Lvov, Ternopol and Ivano-Frankovsk had been captured and by the end of 1991, 597 churches had been taken from the Orthodox.

"Commenting on these events, the Theological Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church stated in 1997...."

Link :: http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/7/1/2.aspx
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« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2009, 09:52:13 PM »

Jonathan Gress - Quote:
I was very much moved by this story and thank you for relating it.

"Firstly, this situation is rather different from the one of participation by hierarchs in ecumenist prayer meetings. In the former, you speak of personal tragedy; in the latter, there is no tragedy, only the motives of religious syncretism."

Reply: The tragedy I speak of is very much personal if one is to consider Himself a member of the Body of Christ. It is the seperation and division of our Christian Church into schismatic sects. The hierarchs of the Orthodox faith within the WCC recognize the unity in the belief of the Trinity as paramount. "Where two or more are gathered in my name...", comes to mind.

Our division begins and ends with us, each, personally, to take responsibility for our tragedy. When will we as Orthodox -the fullness of faith - "take the Devil by the horns" as they say, and break down our walls of seperation. These Hierarchs, are they celebrating Eucharist with the other churches? If they are, than I believe you are correct in your stance. We should seperate ourselves from them and retain what is the foundation of Christian doctrine, yet still admonish them as brothers. But if they are not, and prayer and work for healing is their agenda, then by all means, they are doing God's work - mission work.

It is so easy to seperate ourselves from it all. So easy to say, "This wasn't our fault. We shall close our gates to those who have misunderstood or disagree with us. We shall keep our faith to ourselves and protect it, so that we do not have happen to us what happened to the Roman Catholic Church. We don't want a reformation." And so we seperate our church from such heresies in good intention and the ones who have been misled have no leadership. Christ walked amongst those who were sinful. He spoke to them as if He was one of them. Those who could hear, were given ears. Those who saw Him as God, followed him. So those who will see the Church for what She is, will only see her if She is present and among them.      
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« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2009, 10:04:26 PM »

Father,

Again I've dealt with these claims in another thread.  To hear the MP tell it one would think the Orthodox were forced out at gunpoint.  I have yet to see proof of anything other than minor skirmishes, which while regretable were probably necessary as I have absolutely no confidence the MP would have willingly given back any churches.

How about some facts?  In the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo, before the pseudo-synod, there were 440 churches.  Since 1989 the Eparchy has had 120 churches returned.  Conversely the Orthodox Eparchy has retained 260 churches.  45 churches were destroyed by the Communists.  15 churches are shared.  Since 1989 the Greek Catholics have had to build an additional 123 churches and 65 are currently under construction.

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« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2009, 12:17:24 AM »

"Rightful owners" is a rather subjective reading of events:

Not subjective at all.  By the time of the pseudo-synods of Lviv,

1700.

Quote
Uzhorod,

1646

Quote
Presov,

1646, 1818.

Quote
and Alba Iulia

1700

Quote
the majority of the churches in Greek Catholic possesion were built by Greek Catholics after the unions. 

We know that before these unions ALL Churches were built by the Orthodox and were taken from them.

Quote
The Orthodox simply had no claim to them period.

Just to name a few examples:Romania, besides the properties that the Austro-Hungarian stole and the ones that they destroyed, there are also those that were suppressed by their Holy and Most Catholic Majesties (the Romanian Orthodox were given leave for one bishop only in 1864, when it became obvious that the policy of extermination didn't work, and an independent Orthodox Romanian Kingdom was forming on the southern border), in addition to the ill gotten gain that was turned over to the "Romanian Church united with Rome" by the secret, unconstitutional, concordant between the Vatican and her son, King Ferdinand I.  In Lviv, the Vatican in 1746 build cathedral of St. George on the site of the destroyed Orthodox Cathedral (c. 1280-1700, the jurisdiction of the Vatican still has not matched the Orthodox's tenure).  I don't know about Czech-Slovak law during the interwar democratic Republic, when the mass conversion to Orthodoxy took place.

Then of course there is the question of the return to Orthodoxy in these places before WWI.....

When I was in Romania in 1992, I saw ads all over for the "Catechismul Bisericii Catolice" all over the place. Shortly before, JP II had said that "if the Romanians were really Romans, they would be Roman Catholic" (no recognition of the fact, that while the Romans were in Dacia, ancient Romania, the mass at Rome was in Greek). When I went to the cathedral of Bucharest, plenty were to be had, although the masses I recall were in Hungarian. This, when the English version was unavailable (that would be 5 more years), though the Vatican has far, far more Anglophones than Romanophones, and only a year after it had come out. What was that all about?

I don't understand the question, what is it you want to know?

If this were true

For all the claims of Catholic sheep stealing I fail to see any evidence of it.

why such a massive influx of unneeded catechisms, when a much greater need (e.g. the Anglophone followers of the Vatican) wasn't being met?
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« Reply #35 on: July 22, 2009, 04:32:07 AM »


If the MP or any other body were serious about their opposition to ecumenism, rather than using cautious language to appease the traditionalists within their ranks, they would withdraw from the WCC at once, break communion with other ecumenist jurisdictions, and ask to be reconciled with those jurisdictions that have always opposed ecumenism, such as the True Orthodox Church of Greece or of Russia.

It is interesting that your approach is close to what some of the supporters of our blessed Father Justin (Popovic) of Celije used to urge upon him, time and time again.   "If your words against ecumenism are serious, then you should break communion with the Patriarchate and form a new Church body or join with the Greek Old Calendarists."   

Fr Justin, whose horror of ecumenism hardly needs emphasizing, was even more horrified by this proposal to create schism in the Church and would never entertain the idea.  I was blessed to be a young monk in Serbia during Fr Justin's lifetime and had the blessing of being present at his ever-memorable funeral and kissing his holy remains.

Through the prayers of our holy Avva Justin, preserve Thy Church in peace and unity, O Lord, and banish the destructive forces of schism.
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« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2009, 10:02:49 AM »

Through the prayers of our holy Avva Justin, preserve Thy Church in peace and unity, O Lord, and banish the destructive forces of schism.

Amen.
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« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2009, 12:23:11 PM »

Jonathan Gress - Quote:
I was very much moved by this story and thank you for relating it.

"Firstly, this situation is rather different from the one of participation by hierarchs in ecumenist prayer meetings. In the former, you speak of personal tragedy; in the latter, there is no tragedy, only the motives of religious syncretism."

Reply: The tragedy I speak of is very much personal if one is to consider Himself a member of the Body of Christ. It is the seperation and division of our Christian Church into schismatic sects. The hierarchs of the Orthodox faith within the WCC recognize the unity in the belief of the Trinity as paramount. "Where two or more are gathered in my name...", comes to mind.

Our division begins and ends with us, each, personally, to take responsibility for our tragedy. When will we as Orthodox -the fullness of faith - "take the Devil by the horns" as they say, and break down our walls of seperation. These Hierarchs, are they celebrating Eucharist with the other churches? If they are, than I believe you are correct in your stance. We should seperate ourselves from them and retain what is the foundation of Christian doctrine, yet still admonish them as brothers. But if they are not, and prayer and work for healing is their agenda, then by all means, they are doing God's work - mission work.

It is so easy to seperate ourselves from it all. So easy to say, "This wasn't our fault. We shall close our gates to those who have misunderstood or disagree with us. We shall keep our faith to ourselves and protect it, so that we do not have happen to us what happened to the Roman Catholic Church. We don't want a reformation." And so we seperate our church from such heresies in good intention and the ones who have been misled have no leadership. Christ walked amongst those who were sinful. He spoke to them as if He was one of them. Those who could hear, were given ears. Those who saw Him as God, followed him. So those who will see the Church for what She is, will only see her if She is present and among them.     

All right it's quite clear that you believe in ecumenism. All I can say to that is that this is not compatible with the Orthodox faith, since we believe that the Church is, has always been and will always be One. The divisions you speak of are between the True Church and those who separate themselves from her; they are not divisions _within_ the Body of Christ.
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« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2009, 12:34:33 PM »


If the MP or any other body were serious about their opposition to ecumenism, rather than using cautious language to appease the traditionalists within their ranks, they would withdraw from the WCC at once, break communion with other ecumenist jurisdictions, and ask to be reconciled with those jurisdictions that have always opposed ecumenism, such as the True Orthodox Church of Greece or of Russia.

It is interesting that your approach is close to what some of the supporters of our blessed Father Justin (Popovic) of Celije used to urge upon him, time and time again.   "If your words against ecumenism are serious, then you should break communion with the Patriarchate and form a new Church body or join with the Greek Old Calendarists."   

Fr Justin, whose horror of ecumenism hardly needs emphasizing, was even more horrified by this proposal to create schism in the Church and would never entertain the idea.  I was blessed to be a young monk in Serbia during Fr Justin's lifetime and had the blessing of being present at his ever-memorable funeral and kissing his holy remains.

Through the prayers of our holy Avva Justin, preserve Thy Church in peace and unity, O Lord, and banish the destructive forces of schism.


Actually I thought Fr Justin did break communion with Patriarch German in 1971. Fr Anastasios, is this true?

You clearly believe ecumenism is in fact a heresy; that is good. You are aware that you must not be in communion with heretics, are you not? So, what exactly are you doing in the World Council of Churches? Perhaps it is not in fact a heretical body after all, despite appearances to the contrary. In that case, why are you even making a fuss about the WCC? Clearly there is no actual heresy going on, because you are still in communion with all these alleged heretics.

You can't admit on the one hand that the WCC is heretical and then be a member of it!
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« Reply #39 on: July 22, 2009, 12:54:00 PM »


If the MP or any other body were serious about their opposition to ecumenism, rather than using cautious language to appease the traditionalists within their ranks, they would withdraw from the WCC at once, break communion with other ecumenist jurisdictions, and ask to be reconciled with those jurisdictions that have always opposed ecumenism, such as the True Orthodox Church of Greece or of Russia.

It is interesting that your approach is close to what some of the supporters of our blessed Father Justin (Popovic) of Celije used to urge upon him, time and time again.   "If your words against ecumenism are serious, then you should break communion with the Patriarchate and form a new Church body or join with the Greek Old Calendarists."   

Fr Justin, whose horror of ecumenism hardly needs emphasizing, was even more horrified by this proposal to create schism in the Church and would never entertain the idea.  I was blessed to be a young monk in Serbia during Fr Justin's lifetime and had the blessing of being present at his ever-memorable funeral and kissing his holy remains.

Through the prayers of our holy Avva Justin, preserve Thy Church in peace and unity, O Lord, and banish the destructive forces of schism.


Of course, we also have the example of the God-bearing Elder Ieronymos of Aegina who did break communion with the New Calendarists of Greece.  There are of course other such figures such as the Holy Elder Niphon (Astyfides) and others, but we have not "marketed" our Elders in the same way as the conservative New Calendarists have.

We also have the example of the Holy Synod of the ROCOR, which entered communion with the GOC of Greece in 1969, as a sister Church.  Were the Holy bishops of ROCOR supporting schism "in" the Church? Of course not.

In the end, we could play this tit-for-tat all day. It doesn't lead anywhere. Every Church has its holy elders and saints.
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« Reply #40 on: July 22, 2009, 12:56:36 PM »



Actually I thought Fr Justin did break communion with Patriarch German in 1971. Fr Anastasios, is this true?

I have heard this mentioned before, but do not know its source. Whether or not it happened, he certainly died in communion with the Serbian patriarch.

Quote
You clearly believe ecumenism is in fact a heresy; that is good. You are aware that you must not be in communion with heretics, are you not? So, what exactly are you doing in the World Council of Churches? Perhaps it is not in fact a heretical body after all, despite appearances to the contrary. In that case, why are you even making a fuss about the WCC? Clearly there is no actual heresy going on, because you are still in communion with all these alleged heretics.

You can't admit on the one hand that the WCC is heretical and then be a member of it!

Right on, Jonathan. "Resisting from within" is a dead-end street.  For every nicely-worded anti-ecumenical statement produced, there are 4 or 5 joint agreements, joint prayer services, etc.  The idea that we have to stay in communion with heretics just doesn't line up with Church History as I have read it and studied it.
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« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2009, 01:01:15 PM »



Actually I thought Fr Justin did break communion with Patriarch German in 1971. Fr Anastasios, is this true?

I have heard this mentioned before, but do not know its source. Whether or not it happened, he certainly died in communion with the Serbian patriarch.

Quote
You clearly believe ecumenism is in fact a heresy; that is good. You are aware that you must not be in communion with heretics, are you not? So, what exactly are you doing in the World Council of Churches? Perhaps it is not in fact a heretical body after all, despite appearances to the contrary. In that case, why are you even making a fuss about the WCC? Clearly there is no actual heresy going on, because you are still in communion with all these alleged heretics.

You can't admit on the one hand that the WCC is heretical and then be a member of it!

Right on, Jonathan. "Resisting from within" is a dead-end street.  For every nicely-worded anti-ecumenical statement produced, there are 4 or 5 joint agreements, joint prayer services, etc.  The idea that we have to stay in communion with heretics just doesn't line up with Church History as I have read it and studied it.

What Orthodox Church is in communion with the WCC?
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« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2009, 01:03:31 PM »

What Orthodox Church is in communion with the WCC?

That is not what either Jonathan or I are saying.
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« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2009, 01:16:54 PM »

What Orthodox Church is in communion with the WCC?

That is not what either Jonathan or I are saying.

Then, Father, what are you saying?
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« Reply #44 on: July 22, 2009, 01:29:34 PM »



Actually I thought Fr Justin did break communion with Patriarch German in 1971. Fr Anastasios, is this true?

I have heard this mentioned before, but do not know its source. Whether or not it happened, he certainly died in communion with the Serbian patriarch.

Quote
You clearly believe ecumenism is in fact a heresy; that is good. You are aware that you must not be in communion with heretics, are you not? So, what exactly are you doing in the World Council of Churches? Perhaps it is not in fact a heretical body after all, despite appearances to the contrary. In that case, why are you even making a fuss about the WCC? Clearly there is no actual heresy going on, because you are still in communion with all these alleged heretics.

You can't admit on the one hand that the WCC is heretical and then be a member of it!

Right on, Jonathan. "Resisting from within" is a dead-end street.  For every nicely-worded anti-ecumenical statement produced, there are 4 or 5 joint agreements, joint prayer services, etc.  The idea that we have to stay in communion with heretics just doesn't line up with Church History as I have read it and studied it.

What Orthodox Church is in communion with the WCC?
Not only What Orthodox Church? But In what definition? Are they simply praying together or are they actually serving the rites of Sacraments with the heretical sects within the WCC?
I do not support sharing in the Sacraments (as I have already stated) but I do support Prayer and dialogue, even common work towards the Goal of Unification (as long as it is in the end, a leading back to Orthodoxy). By being a presence in the World of Organized Religion, we will enevitably catch some fish.
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Tags: ROCOR WCC ecumenism Old Calendarists Russian Orthodox 
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